The 2011 Green Brands survey

8th Jun 2011

The Green Brands study, one of the largest global consumer surveys of green brands and corporate environmental responsibility, explores consumer attitudes and perceptions towards green issues. This year's study is the largest yet, surveying over 9,000 people in eight countries and ranking more than 370 brands.

Conducted by WPP companies Cohn & Wolfe, Landor Associates and Penn, Schoen & Berland, with consultation from Esty Environmental Partners, the Green Brands survey explores consumer attitudes and perceptions towards green issues. The 2011 study is the largest yet surveying more than 9,000 people in eight countries – Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, US, and UK.

This year's study reveals that consumer interest in green products has expanded across categories. Consumers worldwide intend to purchase more environmental products in the auto, energy and technology sectors compared to last year. As consumers across the globe have become more savvy about how green choices in personal care, food and household products directly affect them and their families, they are expanding their green purchase interest to higher ticket items, such as cars and technology.

For brands, the 2011 findings emphasize that they must not only develop environmental strategies to address their environmental impact, but they must also connect with consumers in a compelling and relevant way on a market-by-market basis. 

Other key findings from the 2011 survey include the following:

• Consumers are divided on which industry currently does the best job of protecting the environment. Eighteen percent of American and 20 percent of Australian consumers say the energy industry does the best job, while most respondents in Germany (19 percent), India (22 percent), China (33 percent) and Brazil (22 percent) cite the technology sector. In the UK, more than 21 percent of consumers say the grocery store industry is the top protector of the environment.

• While personal care, grocery and household products are the industries with the greatest representation among the top 10 brands list, consumers in the US indicate that they intend to spend more money on green technology, energy and automotive products or services in the next year.

• Consistent with last year's study, more than 60 percent of consumers globally want to buy from environmentally responsible companies. Respondents in all eight countries surveyed indicate that they are willing to spend more on green products. In developed countries such as the US and the UK, roughly 20 percent of those surveyed would spend more than 10 percent extra on a green product. In developing countries, however, consumers say that green products have a higher inherent value. Ninety-five percent of Chinese consumers say they are willing to spend more on a product because it's green.

• Other than price, the two biggest influences on purchase decisions are on-package messaging and prior experience with the product, both of which satisfy the consumer need to understand a benefit beyond 'saving the world.'

If you’re interested in learning more about how Green Brands applies specifically to your company, and to discuss the critical role of communications in developing a sustainability strategy, please contact Annie Longsworth, global sustainability practice leader, at 415.365.8521 or annie.longsworth@cohnwolfe.com.