True Green? Survey Predicts Heightened Consumer Focus on Sustainable Product Marketing

One Universal Score Will Impact Purchase Decisions, Drive Sales

Sep 13, 2011, 10:04 ET from Ryan Partnership Chicago from ,Mambo Sprouts Marketing

CHICAGO and COLLINGSWOOD, N.J., Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- If you build it, they will come.  That's the message behind a new research study conducted by shopper marketing and industry insight experts, Ryan Partnership Chicago and Mambo Sprouts Marketing, which shows health and eco-consumers want one universal green score to help them make sustainable product buying decisions.  

New survey findings published in the One Green Score for One Earth sustainability research white paper, suggests shoppers would increase sustainable product spending if only they could determine which products were truly green and which had been simply green-washed.

"We know that consumer commitment to earth-friendly products is increasing," says Christine Nardi Diette, president of Ryan Partnership Chicago.  "But all of the green messaging is creating more confusion than confidence. Consumers are challenging manufacturers and retailers to be clear about their commitment to sustainability."

According to the study, 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 prefer 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%) 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%.  
  • 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. Over half of shoppers prefer that sustainability information be displayed within the store: packaging, labels, and signage.


The study also found that consumers are more discerning about what makes a product sustainable.

"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," says 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.

These results were released as part of a research white paper titled One Green Score for One Earth, the first in a series on sustainability that reveals the results of a quantitative consumer survey and qualitative point of view interviews among retailers and manufacturers.  

"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," says Diette. "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."

Visit for research methodology details; more information about Ryan Partnership Chicago and Mambo Sprouts Marketing; and to download the One Green Score for One Earth research white paper.

Media Contacts:
Lisa Lazarczyk

Cathleen Williamson

SOURCE Ryan Partnership Chicago; Mambo Sprouts Marketing