MONTEREY, Calif., June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the largest global surveys to date on consumer perceptions of green brands and corporate environmental behavior reveals global differences about the top environmental concerns among consumers. While climate change is important across most countries, 30 percent of Brazilians and 26 percent of Indians cite deforestation as the top issue, and in Australia, 68 percent of consumers say it's important that companies manage water efficiently.
The fifth annual ImagePower® Green Brands Survey polled more than 9,000 people in eight countries and was conducted by WPP agencies (Nasdaq: WPPGY) Cohn & Wolfe, Landor Associates and Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), as well as independent strategy consulting firm Esty Environmental Partners. The Green Brands Survey identifies emerging trends related to consumer perception and purchasing behavior of "green" products.
The 2010 data indicates that the majority of consumers plan to spend the same or more money on green products in the coming year, with more than 70 percent of consumers in China, India and Brazil saying they will spend more.
The majority of consumers—over 60 percent—in all countries want to buy from environmentally responsible companies, but the cost of green products continues to be a hurdle in developed countries. Selection and labeling are the biggest challenges in developing economies.
"The 2010 Green Brands Survey demonstrates the growing importance of consumer concerns and eco-literacy to companies. It is striking that interest in the environment and sustainability appears to be on the rise in markets all across the world, but the specific issues on which consumers are focused varies from country to country," said Dan Esty, chairman of Esty Environmental Partners. "The message is that companies must not only develop environmental strategies to address their most important global impacts, but they also need to be able to connect with consumers in a compelling and relevant way on a market-by-market basis."
More than two-thirds of respondents in each country polled cite reducing toxics and dangerous substances as the most important activity a company can do to be green, followed by water conservation or recycling. In addition, consumers say environmental consciousness is an important corporate priority, ranking in importance behind 'good value,' 'trustworthy' and 'caring about customers.'
"For the last few years we've seen interest in green brands increase in every country surveyed. Being seen as environmentally conscious continues to be an important brand attribute with all consumers; in fact, it ranks fourth behind 'good value,' 'trustworthy' and 'cares about customers,'" said Russ Meyer, Landor's chief strategy officer. "Although still a differentiator in many categories, brand managers must remember that being seen as green is becoming a fundamental attribute for all brands."
In the United States, energy use is considered to be the biggest green issue or problem today. The data also show that economic concerns continue to take precedence over environmental ones with 79 percent of those polled expressing greater distress about the economy. Yet, 35 percent of consumers say they will spend more on green in the coming year (down slightly from last year).
"In the United States, 75 percent of consumers say that it is somewhat or very important to them that the brands they buy come from green companies, although more people said that this was 'very important' in 2009," observed Scott Siff, executive vice president of Penn Schoen Berland. "While the economy has driven down the priority of green for consumers, we can expect that as the recovery continues, the importance of green will come roaring back."
The top ten U.S. brands perceived to be the greenest in this year's study include newcomers Aveeno and Microsoft. The complete list includes:
1. Burt's Bees
2. Whole Foods
3. Tom's of Maine
4. Trader Joe's
7. SC Johnson
"One of the interesting trends we're seeing this year is the consumer recognition of what we're calling 'helper brands,' which provide useful information to consumers," said Annie Longsworth, global sustainability practice leader at Cohn & Wolfe. "While preference for brands that are 'in me, on me, around me' is still prevalent, consumers also value brands that make going green easier for them through online tools, tips and other forms of engagement through communication."
The ImagePower Green Brands study was conducted online with consumers 18+ in between February 27 and March 24, 2010. It has a margin of error of 2.8% in the U.S. and UK; +/-2.9% in Germany and 3.0% elsewhere. For Brazil, India and China the research was limited to Tier 1 cities.
About Landor Associates
Landor Associates is one of the world's leading strategic brand consulting and design firms. Founded by Walter Landor in 1941, Landor pioneered many of the research, design, and consulting methods that are now standard in the branding industry. Partnering with clients, Landor drives business transformation and performance by creating brands that are more innovative, progressive, and dynamic than their competitors.
Landor's holistic approach to branding is a balance of rigorous, business-driven thinking and exceptional creativity. Its work spans the full breadth of branding services, including brand research and valuation, brand positioning and architecture, naming and writing, corporate identity and consumer packaging design, branded experience, brand equity management, brand engagement, and digital branding.
With 20 offices in 15 countries, Landor's current and past clients include some of the world's most powerful brands, including BlackBerry, Citi, the Council on Foreign Relations, Diageo, Hilton Hotels, HP, Jet Airways, Microsoft, MillerCoors, Panasonic, PGA of America, Procter & Gamble, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and Verizon.
Landor is a member of the Young & Rubicam Brands network within WPP, one of the world's largest marketing and communications firms.
For more information, please visit landor.com.
About Cohn & Wolfe
Cohn & Wolfe is a strategic public relations agency dedicated to creating, building and protecting the world's most prolific brands. With offices around the world, the agency is committed to breaking new ground in the delivery of cross-channel media strategies, creative programming, and practice area excellence.
Cohn & Wolfe is recognized year after year by clients and the industry for excellence in creativity, client service, digital communications, media strategy, senior management and strategic counsel. Cohn & Wolfe also consistently ranks among the top "Best Agencies to Work For" in an annual, industry-wide employee survey. For more information, visit: www.cohnwolfe.com. Cohn & Wolfe is part of WPP (Nasdaq: WPPGY), one of the world's largest communications services group.
About Penn Schoen Berland
Penn Schoen Berland, a unit of the WPP group (NASDAQ = WPPGY) is a global research-based consultancy that specializes in messaging and communications strategy for blue-chip political, corporate and entertainment clients. We have over 30 years of experience in leveraging unique insights about consumer opinion to provide clients with a competitive advantage - what we call Winning Knowledge™. PSB executes polling and message testing services for Fortune 100 corporations and has helped elect more than 30 presidents and prime ministers around the world. More information is available at www.psbresearch.com.
About Esty Environmental Partners
Esty Environmental Partners (EEP) is a management consultancy working with corporate clients to build high-impact environmental strategies that create sustainable business value. EEP serves a range of companies, from Fortune 500 to small business, in diverse industries including apparel, financial services, industrial, and consumer packaged goods. EEP clients are executives whose responsibilities include corporate environmental affairs and sustainability, product line management, facilities management, and the highest levels of company or division general management. They engage EEP's team of experienced environmental and business professionals to help them build core capabilities, innovate, and differentiate their companies through environmental strategy. To learn more, please visit www.EstyEP.com
SOURCE Cohn & Wolfe