According to market research company Mintel, 20% of us fall into this category and are apathetic about environmental concerns while a further 17% are suffering from ‘green overload’ and have become cynical about the issues.

Finally, another quarter of us (23%) admit to being uniformed and confused about ethical consumerism and simply unsure of what they need to do to lead a greener life.

“There have been an increasing number of media reports highlighting the complexities of environmental concerns and the difficulties that operators in the market face,” said Angela Hughes, consumer research manager at Mintel.

“But our research shows that for many consumers too much information and mixed messages are causing them simply to ‘switch off’.

“Although there are no easy solutions to many of the environmental and ethical dilemmas, which face society today, most consumers clearly need to be presented with simpler messages.”

At the other end of the spectrum one in four (24%) adults is ‘Keen to be Green’ and are very conscious of, and conscientious about, green and ethical issues, always trying to do more.

Meanwhile, just one in six of us (16%) feel that we are doing all we they can on the green front.

“When Mintel examined green and ethical consumerism back in 1990 it was young family aged adults who were most environmentally aware and our research shows that these green consumers have carried their ethical attitudes with them into later life,” said Ms Hughes.

“But worryingly, today’s young families seem to be taking less of an interest in these matters, which raises concerns about the future of the green movement. Clearly younger people would benefit from better education when it comes to matters of the environment.”

David Gibbs

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