Consumers Want One Universal Score for Green Products
September 15, 2011
Health and eco-consumers want one universal green score to help them make sustainable product buying decisions, according to research conducted by Ryan Partnership Chicago and Mambo Sprouts Marketing.
Shoppers would increase sustainable product spending if they could better determine which products are truly green, according to the white paper outlining the research findings titled, “One Green Score for One Earth.”
"We know that consumer commitment to earth-friendly products is increasing, but all of the green messaging is creating more confusion than confidence,” said Christine Nardi Diette, president of Ryan Partnership Chicago. “Consumers are challenging manufacturers and retailers to be clear about their commitment to sustainability."
Health and eco-conscious consumers say that a universal product sustainability score would influence their brand purchase decisions. Research findings indicate just how strong the demand is for such a score and how consumers would like the rating system to work:
- Rate It. Among shoppers, the vast majority (8 in 10 or more) want a product sustainability score. Even the majority (55 percent) of those who are not committed to buying sustainably would welcome such a score.
- By the Numbers. Three in four consumers said a numerical score would be most useful in communicating sustainability. Symbols and text were less popular, favored by just over 25 percent.
- It's Complicated. While a single score would seem simple and clear, shoppers understand that sustainability is complex and are open to the idea of multiple scores to improve the quality of communication.
- Keep it independent. At least three in four consumers looked for an independent organization or group of experts across different areas of sustainability (without a profit motive) to create the score.
- Find it. More than half of shoppers prefer that sustainability information be displayed within the store: packaging, labels, and signage.
"While consumers remain focused on a product's environmental impact (e.g. energy conservation and carbon footprint), increasingly social, eco-economy and other facets of corporate responsibility are being considered including Fair Trade, cruelty-free and locally sourced," said Matthew Saline, founder and CEO of Mambo Sprouts Marketing.
The study further examined what the score should look like and how it could be best communicated to consumers, the challenges for retailers and marketers, and a creative solution. The authors also forecast three sustainable market trends that will reshape consumer product marketing.
"Those brands that take the lead on these trends and establish themselves as credible on the topic of sustainability will reap the benefits in terms of an increased share of wallet and shopper loyalty," Diette said. "But implicit in the consumer conversation is the idea that sustainable products will meet standards of quality and performance, ideally at a price consumers can afford."
- Research Identifies Retail Sustainability Leadership and Innovation
- MIT-Staples Study: Electric Trucks Cost 9 to 12 Percent Less to Operate
- Price, Performance and Credibility Remain Barriers to Sustainable Product Purchasing
- Study Cites 125 Grocers Using Secondary, Cascade and Transcritical Refrigeration Systems in North America
- RILA to Unveil New Research at Sustainability Conference
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