In a report out today, the CBI says businesses must do more to give consumers the right information to make informed choices about buying low-carbon products.

The report, ‘Buying into it – making the consumer case for low-carbon’, carried out by IPSOS Mori, surveyed 2,000 people.

It revealed that 83% of the public think businesses have a responsibility to tell their customers about energy efficiency, but only 16% trust manufacturers and even fewer trust retailers (9%) to be truthful about it.

The report has found three-quarters of the public do not think about energy efficiency when making the biggest purchase of their lives, a new home, but more than half (53%) do think about energy efficiency when buying a fridge.

This reflects the success of the A-G white goods labeling system, which provides clear standardised information on the energy efficiency of white goods.

CBI director-general, John Cridland, said: “Consumers are often baffled when faced with a variety of low-carbon products on sale, each making different green claims.

“All too often we find that consumers are something of a Cinderella of the low-carbon economy.

Unless we can get the public truly on board, then all the investment in new technology and all our low-carbon innovation will be for nothing.

“Businesses need to provide clear, consistent labelling that becomes a trusted universal standard with the public. The success of A-G labeling for white goods like fridges and washing machines shows that this kind of approach works.”

The CBI says a joint business-government taskforce should focus on building a mass market for low-carbon goods.

They suggest measures such as running awareness campaigns, consistent labelling, staff training and using a common language to explain environmental features.

Alison Brown

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