For those businesses looking to gain a competitive edge or hold their own in the marketplace, a new study from global market research firm GfK suggests they would do well to emphasize their record on environmental responsibility.
The results from a survey of more than 28,000 consumers from 23 countries show that more than 75 percent of those questioned agreed with the statement that companies and brands must be environmentally responsible. In addition, more than 60 percent of the respondents said they only purchase products and services that align with their values, beliefs, or ideals and a similar number said they feel guilty when they act in a way that is not environmentally friendly – including the purchases that they make.
In the United States, these numbers are slightly lower, with two-thirds supporting the need for environmental responsibility, and slightly more than half agreeing with both statements on purchasing based on beliefs and feeling remorse when they act contrary to their beliefs on environmental responsibility.
There was little difference between genders on the question of environmental responsibility, but women polled slightly ahead by three percentage points (78 to 75). Among age groups, those in the 30 to 39 decade agreed at an 80 percent rate, with 40 – 49 year olds, and 60 and older following closely at 78 and 77 percent, respectively. Slightly more than two-thirds of the 15 -19 bracket were in agreement.
As far as purchases based on adherence to these beliefs, women and men concurred (63 percent each). Among age groups, 68 percent of 30-39 year olds and 65 percent of 20 – 29 year olds led the way, while the youngest and the oldest age brackets (15-19 and 60+) registered at 57 percent clip.
When it came to guilt feelings when making decisions that conflicted with these beliefs, women were slightly ahead of men by 64 to 61 percent. Sixty-five percent of individuals 20 – 39 think along these lines compared to 58 percent of respondents fifty and older.
By contrast, only six percent of those polled said companies do not need to demonstrate environmental responsibility. Similarly, eleven percent said they do not purchase products and services solely on their environmental views, and fourteen percent said they have no regrets when their actions are not considered environmentally irresponsible.
GfK. “Three quarters of Consumers Say Brands Have to be Environmentally Responsible,” April 20, 2015.
MarketingCharts. “Two-thirds of Americans Agree: Brands Must be Environmentally Responsible,” April 22, 2015.