Gulf Disaster Blackens Spirits of Green Shoppers

Gulf Disaster Blackens Spirits of Green Shoppers

The gusher in the Gulf has cast a dark shadow on Americans' environmental fortitude, according to the monthly Green Confidence Index.

The Index, which is derived from a monthly online survey of approximately 2,500 Americans aged 18 and over, measures Americans' attitudes towards and confidence in how leaders and institutions are perceived to be addressing environmental issues, the adequacy of information available to them to make informed decisions, and their past and future purchases of green products.

The Index's three components include:

• Responsibility: Who's "doing enough" -- and who's not?
• Information: Is enough information available and for what types of decisions?
• Purchasing: Is green purchasing continuing, accelerating or declining?

 

According to research conducted during May 2010, Americans' perceptions of environmental responsibility declined for two key institutions: the U.S. government and major corporations. "Given the lack of progress made to date by the BP clean-up and well-capping, we don't expect this downturn to change any time soon," says Amy Hebard, Chief Research Officer at Earthsense, one of three partners in producing the Index.

The latest monthly survey also showed the confusion many consumers have in making green choices. For example, there were gender differences among consumers when asked whether it's greener to drive six people in a three-year-old sport utility vehicle versus two people in a late-model hybrid.

"Men are more likely than women to lean towards packing everyone in an older SUV, while three out of five women lean towards fewer people driving newer hybrid technology," says Hebard. "Younger adults are more likely than older ones to choose more passengers in an older vehicle." One in five couldn't choose between the two options.

The Green Confidence Index is a partnership of three leading business information services companies: GreenBiz.com, part of Greener World Media, which also produces research reports and events on the greening of mainstream business; Earthsense, an applied marketing company that produces Eco-Insights, the largest syndicated survey of U.S. consumers' attitudes and behaviors toward the environment and sustainability; and Survey Sampling International, the world's largest provider of multi-mode survey research sampling solutions. The Index is a subscription-based service. Annual subscriptions are $499, with charter subscriptions available at $299.

More information and a sample copy of the monthly briefing can be downloaded at GreenConfidenceIndex.com.