Bank on Green
April 4, 2009 by The Dove
A new study has revealed a shift in broad-based green thinking to more practical green action – as well as a focus on activities that have near and long-term economic implications.
Going green is a strategy many are undertaking as a way to save the environment and help alleviate financial stress.
According to GfK Custom Research, a new study that sampled more than 2000 adults has found nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans say they know a lot or a fair amount about environmental issues and problems (up seven points from 2007) and 28% often seek out environmental information (up five points).
The most common green actions are those that are helping Americans save money every day. Seventy-six percent have bought energy efficient light bulbs and 58% have purchased energy saving appliances. Consumers are also considering gas mileage in their next vehicle purchases more than ever before (81% up 15 points from 2007).
While money matters, not all of the top green purchases are savings inspired. People are purchasing paper products made from recycled papers (72%), green household cleaning products (64%) and environmentally safe laundry detergent (57%) despite the fact that they cost more.
While many Americans are participating in more eco-friendly practices, less than a third (32%) feel they are doing enough for the environment.
“Americans are taking notice of the dual benefits of making simple eco-friendly changes that help the planet and their wallets,” explains Kathy Sheehan, a senior vice president with GfK Roper Consulting.
According to the study, 72% of parents discuss the importance of protecting the environment with their children on a regular basis (up 11 points from 2007). Not only are more American families having the “green talk,” they are also emphasizing actionable issues.
More are discussing recycling (86% up 3 points), conserving energy (79% up 5 points) and conserving water (76% up 7 points); – all simple ways to save money in a down economy, but there is a decrease in the dialogue around air pollution (48% down 8 points) and global climate change (36% down 4 points).
Additionally, 88% of parents say they teach the importance of protecting the environment to their children by example (up 6 points from 2007). The younger generation appears to be absorbing the message as 70% of parents report their kids encouraging them to take action in protecting the environment.
When asked who should take the lead in addressing environmental problems, consumers ranked the federal government first (46% down four points from 2007), followed by individual Americans with more feeling the environment is a personal responsibility (39% up four points) and corporate America came in third (32% down three points). While Americans arent expecting businesses to take the lead, the majority (70%) say companies arent fulfilling their environmental responsibilities.
Green, Not Black and White
Digging into the green psyche of Americans, the GfK Custom Research study identified six key segments based on consumer attitudes and behaviors. Which one are you?
Genuine Greens (17%) – These are the environmental activists. They are the most likely to think and behave green and do not feel there are any barriers to action.
Not Me Greens (21%) – This segment has strong attitudes, however, this thinking has yet to turn into action except for certain easier behaviors like recycling. There is a sense among this group that the issue is too large for them to handle.
Go-With-the-Flow Greens (16%) – This group can be considered moderate in terms of their environmental behaviors and attitudes. They are more likely to take easy actions such as recycling. They also may be less concerned about environmental problems such as global warming.
Dream Greens (13%) – While they tend to have limited green behavior, their environmentally friendly attitudes are stronger than the general population. The biggest barrier to this group behaving more green is lack of information.
Business First Greens (21%) – Generally less concerned about environmental issues and problems, their green behaviors are less than those of the total population. This group is also less likely to believe that industry needs to take steps to improve the environment.
Mean Greens (11%) – These Americans are cynical and apprehensive about environmentalism. They are more likely to think that the environmental movement is a front for political interest groups.