- Category: Living Green
13 Apr 2011
- Published on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 05:26
- Hits (862)
By Jen Balboa
NBCUniversal released the results of a series of recent polls on consumers’ green purchase habits and found out that while shoppers are willing to buy green and spend more for it, majority will only do so if the purchase will involve a trusted brand.
The media and entertainment company’s Green in the Economy II poll showed that 68 percent of respondents believe it is worth paying more for a green product or service if it is offered by a brand they trust.
This poll is an update of one conducted in 2009 under the company’s “Green is Universal” campaign. The new results reflect an 8-point increase from the figure in the 2009 poll.
Good reflection on the company
Three-quarters (77 percent) of the respondents also had favorable impressions of companies that promote environmental causes.
An even greater majority – 9 out of ten respondents – say companies have a social responsibility to protect the environment.
Consequently, 27 percent of the respondents confessed to have boycotted companies that are environmentally irresponsible, with the figure reflecting another 8-point increase from two years ago.
At the same time, the respondents exhibited an awareness of their own responsibilities as consumers, with 93 percent saying that they have a personal responsibility to take care of the environment.
Another big majority, at 91 percent, believe that not taking responsibility about these issues will bring negative consequences for the future generations.
A related Green Is Universal campaign poll, Trash to Treasure, showed more concrete consumer behavior patterns.
Mirroring figures of the second poll, 68 percent of respondents in Trash to Treasure said they pay more attention if what they are buying is made from recycled materials.
A majority of the respondents of Trash to Treasure were supportive of recycling efforts on behalf of companies and reacted favorably to those that made it convenient for the consumer to recycle.
More than three-quarters (78 percent) of these consumers expressed appreciation for companies that prioritize the use of recycled materials, because it makes them automatically environmentally-responsible by making the purchase.
Another majority, at 84 percent, said they appreciate companies that make it easier for consumers to recycle.
At least 62 percent claim they make conscious efforts to buy from environmentally responsible companies, while 57 percent said they are likely to encourage others to buy products made from recycled materials.
The NBCUniversal polls were conducted online on United States adults aged 18 and above, between February 25 and March 14.
Is ‘going green’ worth it?
Meanwhile, the results of related journal studies released by the independent nonprofit research group Network for Business Sustainability tend to both affirm and challenge NBCUniversal's findings in separate areas.
On the issue of paying more for green products, N.B.S. pointed out that some consumers considered “functional risks” when buying green.
An example of a “functional risk” cited in the study was that of buying recycled tires. Not only would these reluctant customers be likely to ask for lower prices for the recycled tires, they might even fear that the recycled type is less durable.
This point was raised in the study “New or recycled products: How much are consumers willing to pay?” which appeared in the Journal of Consumer Marketing last year.
Another related study, “Do social product features have value to consumers?” from the International Journal of Research Marketing, found out that while consumers are willing to make some trade-offs to buy ethically, they still put a premium on functionality.
On the point of consumers punishing or rewarding sustainable companies, results of “Is It Really Worth It? Consumer Response to Ethical and Unethical Practices” published in the MIT/Sloan Management Review; point out that consumers will punish a company for unethical practices more than they will reward ethical practices.
In the case of green t-shirts, researchers found no significant difference on the willingness to pay of consumers for shirts which were 25 percent, 50 percent or 100 percent made from organic cotton