2009 Green Brands Global Survey published
22 July, 2009
NEW YORK (July 21, 2009) - A newly released survey, conducted in seven countries - the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Brazil, India, Germany and France -- indicates that while many environmental beliefs and behaviors are shared across different consumer cultures, others vary widely. Generally, consumers in the US, UK, Germany and France tend to align in their attitudes, while consumers in Brazil, India, and China have divergent views, and are particularly inclined to seek green products and to favor companies they consider green.
The research, conducted by WPP agencies (NASDAQ: WPPGY) Cohn & Wolfe, Landor Associates and Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB) as well as independent strategy consulting firm Esty Environmental Partners, also identifies some critical trends on which consumers are in global agreement.
Consumers from all seven countries believe that green products cost more than comparable non-green products, and also indicate they plan to spend more money on green products in the coming year. China, India and Brazil showed significant support for additional spend: 73 percent of Chinese consumers say they will spend more, 78 percent of Indians say they'll spend more, and 73 percent of Brazilians plan to increase their green spend. The percentage of respondents who indicate willingness to spend 30 percent or more on green ranges from 8 percent (UK) to 38 percent (Brazil).
"With the global climate change discussion focused on what the major new economic powerhouses like China, India, and Brazil are willing to do to control their emissions, those three countries stood out in our polling as more interested in buying from environmentally friendly companies and more willing to spend more on green products," said Scott Siff, executive vice president of PSB. "From a political perspective, this turns the assumptions about those countries on their heads, and from a business perspective it says the market for green branding and green products may be even bigger than generally thought."
The study finds similar global agreement when consumers are asked about how important it is that companies be "green." At least 77 percent of consumers in all countries say it's somewhat or very important; in India and China the numbers are significantly higher: 87 and 98 percent, respectively, say that corporate reputation is an important purchase consideration. Consumers from all seven countries also agreed that the most important step a company can take to demonstrate its "green-ness" is to reduce the amount of toxic or other dangerous substances in its products and business processes.
"While reducing toxics heads the list of consumer priorities the data also show that the public holds companies accountable for good environmental behavior across the board," said Dan Esty, chairman of Esty Environmental Partners. "Consumers expect companies to recycle, use energy efficiently, reduce packaging, and pursue green innovation. So to gain loyalty, a company's environmental strategy must be comprehensive."
The research also reveals areas in which the countries, or groups of the countries, differ. For example, consumers in three of the seven locations - UK, France and Brazil - believe that the state of the environment in their country is "on the wrong track," while those in the US, Germany, China and India consider the environment to be going in the right direction.
India and Brazil, however, are the only two of the seven countries in which consumers express more concern for the environment than for the economy. In the US, 77 percent of consumers communicated deeper concern for the economy than the environment, which is unchanged from 2008.
The survey also explored the communication aspects of green, finding that television and the Internet are the primary sources of information for environmental issues in each country. But consumers are divided on the factors that most influence their purchase decisions: past experiences with the product are most influential in France, Germany, and India, while recommendations from friends are most effective in the US and China, and editorial is most persuasive in the UK and Brazil. All the countries agree that intellectuals (professors, authors) or activists are the most credible spokespeople for environmental change.
"As consumer demand for information and knowledge on green increases, brands also need to become more and more sophisticated about how they communicate their company and products," said Annie Longsworth, sustainability practice leader for Cohn & Wolfe. "Transparency is critical, as are credible spokespeople and authenticity, which can be demonstrated through product labeling and ingredient disclosure, among other strategies."
In order to gauge which brands are communicating their green initiatives or values most effectively, the survey asked participants in each country to rate a predetermined set of brands. The results provide insight into the categories of most importance to consumers in each country. Interestingly, very few countries identified the same categories as the greenest, although Personal Care was in the top three for all countries except China.
The top ten greenest brands for each country, as perceived by local consumers are:
"This year's findings in both developed and developing countries reinforces consumers' desires to be green by using products that are green," said Russ Meyer, chief strategy officer of Landor Associates. "However, we're also beginning to see a strong positive correlation between greenness and more traditional brand attributes like honesty and trustworthiness. This creates an incentive for global brands faced with the challenge of expanding the reach of pre-existing products while introducing green ones, as the presence of one attribute can have a halo effect on others."
The ImagePower Green Brands study was conducted online with consumers 18+ in between May 4th and June 10th, 2009. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.6%. For Brazil, India and China the research was limited to Tier 1 cities. Complete results are available upon request by contacting Dain Percifield at (415) 365-8548.About Landor Associates
Landor Associates is one of the world's leading strategic brand consulting and design firms. 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 23 offices in 18 countries, Landor's current and past clients include some of the world's most powerful brands, including BlackBerry, Citi, the Council on Foreign Relations, Diageo, Hilton Hotels, Hewlett-Packard, Jet Airways, Microsoft, MillerCoors, Panasonic, the PGA of America, Procter & Gamble, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and Verizon.
Landor is part of WPP, one of the world's largest global communications services companies.About Cohn & Wolfe
Cohn & Wolfe is a strategic public relations agency dedicated to creating, building and protecting the world's most prolific brands. With offices around the world, the agency is committed to breaking new ground in the delivery of cross-channel media strategies, creative programming, and practice area excellence.
Cohn & Wolfe is recognized year after year by clients and the industry for excellence in creativity, client service, digital communications, media strategy, 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: www.cohnwolfe.com
. Cohn & Wolfe is part of WPP (Nasdaq: WPPGY), one of the world's largest communications services group.About Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates
Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, a unit of the WPP group (NASDAQ = WPPGY) is a global research-based consultancy that specializes in messaging and communications strategy for blue-chip political, corporate and entertainment clients. We have over 30 years of experience in leveraging unique insights about consumer opinion to provide clients with a competitive advantage - what we call Winning KnowledgeTM
. PSB executes polling and message testing services for Fortune 100 corporations and has helped elect more than 30 presidents and prime ministers around the world. More information is available at www.psbresearch.com
.About Esty Environmental Partners
Esty Environmental Partners (EEP) is a management consultancy working with corporate clients to build high-impact environmental strategies that create sustainable business value. EEP serves a range of companies, from Fortune 500 to small business, in diverse industries including apparel, financial services, industrial, and consumer packaged goods. EEP clients are executives whose responsibilities include corporate environmental affairs and sustainability, product line management, facilities management, and the highest levels of company or division general management. They engage EEP's team of experienced environmental and business professionals to help them build core capabilities, innovate, and differentiate their companies through environmental strategy. To learn more, please visit www.EstyEP.com