Read the full story in Sustainable Industries.
Ever since the resurgence of environmentalism in 1990, consumer polls have attempted to measure awareness, attitudes and behaviors towards environmental issues and products. Poll after poll has found that consumers claim to be concerned about the issues, they report high levels of green product purchase, and even claim willingness to pay a premium for greener products and packages. But empirical evidence doesn’t seem to jibe with the research.
In some markets, green products barely eke out a 3 percent share, in contrast to the near majorities of consumers who express to pollsters interest in all things green. And despite consumer pronouncements otherwise, premium-priced green brands often gather dust on shelves. What can explain the gap between the polls and actual in-market performance? Are consumers lying to pollsters in an attempt to look virtuous? Is the spirit willing but the pocketbook weak? Or is it possible that we ourselves need to change the way we view the green consumer market — and ask different questions? I suspect the latter.