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Consumers expect greenness from brands

News, 21 April 2015

GLOBAL: Three quarters of consumers globally expect brands and companies to be environmentally responsible, with around two thirds claiming to only buy products and services that chime with their own beliefs and values, according to new research.

GfK asked over 28,000 people aged 15 or older across 23 countries about how strongly they agreed with specific statements, and found that few were willing to disagree with the idea that brands and companies should be environmentally responsible.

Only 6% felt brands do not have to be, compared to the 76% who thought the opposite. And around three in ten (28%) said they 'strongly' agreed that brands ought to have a green approach.

And the most vociferous support was to be found in perhaps unexpected quarters: in Brazil 47% strongly agreed, while the comparable figures for Turkey and Russia were 46% and 40% respectively.

The highest overall agreement came in Asia, where almost all consumers in India (94%) and Indonesia (93%) give their backing to the notion of brands' obligations to the environment.

And when it came to their own actions, some 63% of consumers globally said that they only buy products and services that appeal to their beliefs, values or ideals.

Once again the greatest level of agreement was to be found in India, where 94% claimed to only buy such products, well ahead of the next nearest countries – Indonesia (78%) and Ukraine (78%). Indian consumers were also most likely to agree strongly with this (47%).

Clearly there is a disconnect between what people say they do and what they actually do, and at least sometimes they are aware of that.

On the question of personal responsibility, nearly two thirds (63%) of consumers internationally said they felt guilty when they did something that was not environmentally friendly, including 17% who agreed strongly this was the case.

And it was 15-19 year olds who showed the highest percentage in this regard, at 18%, indicating greater awareness amongst teenagers than previous generations that protecting the environment is a personal responsibility.

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff