Will consumers pay more in cash and convenience to go green?

Convenience vs. Conscience, what wins out in consumers minds when it comes to packaging? The answer may lie in the gender of the shopper. According to a recent study of 1011 adults commissioned by the IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters, women are 14% more likely than men to select environmentally-friendly packaging over non-green, more-convenient alternatives.

The study determined that overall, the convenience vs. conscience question splits evenly. The research also found that industry is working towards providing packaging that is both convenient and environmentally conscientious.

The report also found what it calls a "Green labeling "loophole," noting that "while patents mentioning biodegradability, recycling, and barrier films are increasing in frequency, a lack of standardization in what constitutes an environmentally-friendly package has resulted in ambiguity as to which packages really are green."

At this time, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Sustainable Packaging Coalition, and the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment are working on standards to provide more uniformity.

Consumers will pay more green to buy more green

DuPont sustainable packaging icon
DuPont's sustainable packaging icon.

Fully 68% of respondents believe it is worth paying more for a green product or service if it is offered by a brand they trust, according to a recent series of NBCUniversal polls. That company's Green in the Economy II poll updates a 2009 survey, with positive responses to the previous question up 8 percentage points in 2 years. The poll also found that:

  • 77% had favorable impressions of companies that promote environmental causes
  • 90% said companies have a social responsibility to protect the environment.
  • 27% boycotted companies they considered environmentally irresponsible (up 8 points from 2009)

Consumer/business disconnect on green

A TÜV SÜD Asia Pacific survey found that 84% were prepared to pay an average premium of 27% for products and services that are clearly certified as green, with 74% saying they already purchase such items. The report concluded that consumer demand for green products and services in China, India, and Singapore appears to be outstripping supply.

In spite of that, businesses expected less than half (43%) of consumers to be willing to pay more for green credentials, with those who are willing only accepting a 14% premium. Only 43% of businesses in the surveyed industries of home electronics; food and beverage; and clothing and footwear produced or traded green products in China, India, and Singapore. Fully 74% either do not have or are failing to communicate a policy or guideline to minimize their impact on the environment, according to TÜV SÜD Green Gauge 2010.


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