Consumers vigilant against ‘green washing’
Despite research showing more Australian consumers believe their buying choices can have a positive impact on the environment, almost nine in 10 are sceptical about the environmental claims companies make about their products and services.
The research compiled by Mobium Group, a Melbourne-based consumer research company, forms part of the company’s consumer trends report, Living Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS).
It reveals the number of consumers who want to ‘do the right thing’ by the environment through their purchasing choices has risen by almost one-third since last year – from 62 percent to 82 percent. The report also shows demand for environmentally friendly products and services has exploded, growing 25 percent in the past year.
But the number of Australians who doubt ‘green’ claims has increased significantly over the same period, with 88 per cent of consumers saying they are dubious about ‘eco’, ‘green’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ assertions companies make.
Mobium group director Andrew Baker says, “More Australians than ever are making consumption choices that take into account environmental considerations. More than four million Australian adults now spend $15 billion annually on sustainable and healthier products and services.”
Baker forecasts spending by these values-driven consumers, known as LOHAS consumers, will increase by up to $10 billion in the next two years.
Baker believes companies wanting to tap into the LOHAS market need to recognise there are four distinct categories – Leaders, Leaning, Learners and Laggards.
“Leaders, who now make up 10 percent of the population, are highly conscious of their decisions and try to integrate sustainability across all aspects of their lives. Leaning and Learner groups remain the largest opportunity for business. They are looking for trustworthy alternatives that allow them to make a positive contribution without having to sacrifice the modern life they are accustomed to,” Baker reveals.
Marketing is all over this subject – the August issue focused on corporate responsibility in regard to the ‘green washing’ question. Check out this issue’s Around the Table discussion on consumer attitudes to companies’ green environmental ambitions.