Research reveals US consumers consider themseves leading cause in global warming

1 May, 2007


The results of the 2007 ImagePower® Green Brands Survey, conducted by WPP’s Landor Associates, Penn, Schoen & Berland (PSB) Associates and Cohn & Wolfe (C&W), were released today in the United States and United Kingdom. The survey findings indicate a shift in the U.S.’s collective consciousness – green is no longer an issue marginalized to fanatical environmentalists; nearly all Americans display green attitudes and behaviors versus a year ago. The survey was conducted by PSB’s Internet Surveys Groups (ISG) and represents a sample of the American and British populations for their respective perceptions of green and its effect on branding and marketing. The survey also found that 40% of the U.S. population feels that the leading issue driving concern around the environment is global warming, while 20% blame themselves for the state of the environment.

A similar survey conducted in 2006 indicated that most U.S. consumers were unfamiliar with the concept of green and how their actions affected the environment. The results of the 2007 survey, however, not only show how Americans’ attitudes have changed, but also bring to the forefront business imperatives for corporations currently in the green space, or considering entry. No longer can corporations just say they offer fuel-efficient vehicles, organic foods or energy-effi cient products – it is now a cost of entry in many industries and corporations need to begin thinking ahead. Corporations must consider the next level of greenness such as ensuring their overall business practices are sustainable and that the greenness at the supermarket or car dealership represents greenness in bringing the item to market.

“Consumers have woken up to the environmental consequences of their purchase decisions, and are changing their behavior to ensure they limit their negative impacts on our environment,” said Russ Meyer, Chief Strategy Officer of Landor Associates. “The survey indicates that consumers are demanding more green products and business practices, but the challenge will be for companies to effectively navigate through this evolving consumer landscape to ensure their sustainability practices are seen as more than just lip service.”

When asked what their perceptions were of green brands, respondents said they are often seen as better quality, though at a higher cost. This perception of green equating premium is one that makes good business sense for anyone considering entering the space. The good news for Whole Foods, Toyota and Sub-Zero (ranked among the greenest of the green) is that even non-users are more likely to use green brands and consider them the next time they make a purchase.

In addition to surveying participants on their beliefs of what constitutes a “green practice” and which brands are most adept at executing green strategies, the survey also categorized participants’ levels of involvement into shades of green, or green attitudes. The result of this segmentation is that all Americans exhibit some sort of green attitudes and behaviors. The difference in behaviors can best be seen at their extremes, by “Muted Green” and “Active Green” participants. Muted Greens are not convinced that the environment is in trouble and make the minimum effort to support environmental change, while Active Greens believe taking care of the environment is society’s responsibility and are doing everything they can to make a long-term impact on their environment.

“We found that being green is universal, but personal defi nitions of green tend to vary. Consumers want and feel the need to exhibit green attitudes and behavior to one degree or another,” said Tom Agan Managing Director of Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates. “Americans feel the need to take more action whether it’s through limiting our eco-footprint, embracing companies and brands practicing sustainability and eco-friendly practices, or limiting our energy consumption.”

That green is no longer viewed as exclusively a concern of the “granola” or “tree hugging” population indicates one of the greatest shifts in the United States in recent history. However, respondents to this survey place some of the burden and responsibility to rectify the situation on government agencies and politicians.

Annie Longsworth, EVP and Managing Director of Cohn & Wolfe San Francisco said, “The results of this survey should be a call to action to all major corporations as consumers are becoming increasingly cognizant of what makes green sense and are being drawn to those that are incorporating smart strategies. In the categories considered laggards in green by consumers, like online technology, travel and petroleum, it is imperative that green practices are effectively communicated in order to build and retain customer loyalty.”

Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. conducted 1504 interviews on the Internet among US general population between April 6 and April 8, 2007 and 1,525 interviews among the UK general population. Respondents were screened to meet the following criteria: Age 18 or over, gender, age, and region was weighted based on US and UK census information, respondents rated only the brands that they were familiar with.

Top 10 Green Brands:
1. Whole Foods
2. Wild Oats
3. Trader Joe’s
4. Toyota
5. Honda
6. Sub Zero
7. Ikea
8. Body Shop
9. GE
10. Aveda


About Landor Associates
Landor Associates is one of the world’s leading strategic brand and design consultancies. Founded by Walter Landor in 1941, Landor pioneered many of the research, design and consulting methods that are now standard in the branding industry. Partnering with clients, Landor drives business transformation and performance by creating brands that are more innovative, progressive and dynamic than their competitors.

Landor’s holistic approach to branding is a balance of rigorous, business-driven thinking and exceptional creativity. Its work spans the full breadth of branding services, including brand research and valuation, brand positioning and architecture, naming and writing, corporate identity and consumer packaging design, branded experience, brand equity management, brand engagement and digital branding.

With 22 offices in 17 countries, Landor’s current and past clients include some of the world’s most powerful brands, such as BP, Cathay Pacifi c, Delta, Diageo, Emaar Properties, FedEx, Frito-Lay, Hyatt Hotels, the City of Hong Kong, LG Group, Microsoft, Numico, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Telefonica.

Landor is part of WPP, one of the world’s largest global communications services companies.

For more information, please visit www.landor.com

About Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates
Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates (PSB) has nearly 30 years of experience in leveraging consumer opinion to provide clients with a competitive advantage, or more simply - providing clients with Winning Knowledge™.

PSB brings an extensive network and unique knowledge base to bear on communications issues. PSB uses experience and global reach to deliver unrivaled business and political insights.

PSB executes polling and message testing services in over 70 countries for Fortune® 500 companies and major political campaigns to develop brand positioning, guide successful advertising campaigns, generate favorable publicity, and advise in crisis management decisions.

About Cohn & Wolfe
Cohn & Wolfe is a strategic marketing public relations agency dedicated to creating, building and protecting the world’s most prolifi c brands. With offi ces in the U.S. and Europe, the agency creates and implements powerful communications programs that help clients build their brands and their bottom lines.

The core areas of expertise include consumer, healthcare, technology and corporate communications. Cohn & Wolfe ranks number one by clients for creativity, media placement, client service, senior management and strategic counsel. Cohn & Wolfe also consistently ranks among the top “Best Agencies to Work For” in an annual, industry wide employee survey. For more information, visit http://sfo.cohnwolfe.com.

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