Eco awareness spurs green choices among consumers

07 Sep,2011

By A Correspondent

Consumers are increasingly choosing to buy green, and insights from the 2011 Green Brands Global Survey indicate how green brands can connect with their customers

As more countries gather speed on greener policies and organisations increasingly adopt the organic growth path, is the consumer’s support for going green translating into action at the supermarket and the department store?

The answer seems to be a heartening Yes, as the annual ImagePower Green Brands survey among consumers in India, China and Brazil shows.

The 2011 survey, capturing the perspective of over 9,000 consumers across eight countries, reveals that an increasing number of people desire to go green and are willing to pay relatively more to buy a green product.

However, with transparency and choice being the key decision influencer for consumers, a lot more is expected from the policy-makers and organisations in pushing green products ahead in the supply chain. Some of the key findings from the study:

Indian consumers want more

Indian consumers do care, and the green brands survey, which is amongst the largest surveys on consumer perceptions of green brands and corporate environmental responsibility, shows that 64 percent of Indian consumers plan to spend more on green products in the next year. More importantly, nearly 48 percent of Indian consumers and 55 percent of Chinese consumers said they were willing to spend over 10 percent more on a product simply because it is green. The survey showed that 28 percent of Indian consumers in the survey expressed the intent to purchase green automobiles in the next year, as against the 16 percent who purchased green automobiles in the previous year.

Package it right

While consumers show a clear inclination towards green products, the challenge for companies is not just in creating greener products but following a marketing strategy that showcases their green side. The green brands survey shows that packaging and publicity both figure high on the consumer mind as important parameters for choosing green products.

Absence of proper labelling was seen as one of the critical reasons for people not choosing green products. Nearly 56 percent of consumers in China and 33 percent in India felt the green labelling or product information was confusing, which impacted their decision. Along with going green with their products, companies need to improve packaging and labeling by including information such as ingredients and origin, food testing and safety as well as environmental impact. Expanding the distribution to increase the accessibility of green products in shopping venues is another important step.

Cost considerations

Price is yet another important consideration for consumers wanting to buy green products. Their lower accessibility and higher prices make consumers see green as a luxury purchase rather than a sensible and sustainable one. This is further accentuated by the inability of consumers to gauge the actual value of the product due to the absence of proper labelling that informs them about its eco-friendly qualities and benefits.

Advertise green power

The survey shows that as far as Indian consumers go, nearly 57% would be influenced by TV advertisements to buy green. The green survey shows that consumers in emerging countries are more trusting of advertising compared to their counterparts in developed countries. Clearly, companies must leverage this opportunity to establish their green credentials through awareness and education.

Regulate responsibility

Showing a similarity to the global trend, the green survey had 95 percent of Indian consumers wanting the government to support green innovation and regulation. With regard to household goods, consumers want the government to mandate producer responsibility and greater label clarity. Currently, India does not have a consistent standard on packaging and labeling, which leaves unable to make informed decisions. The Indian consumers made a clear indication that they wanted the government to play the role of regulator and ensure the private sector provides consumers with clear and consistent information on their products.

It’s time for Indian companies to get their green credentials right.


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