How Can We Fix the Green Trust Gap?

How do you tell the difference between truly eco-conscious brands and those that just fake it? It’s a hard thing to do without extensive research. According to a newly released study from branding and marketing firm BBMG, nearly one in four U.S. consumers say they have no way of knowing if a product is green or actually does what it claims–in other words, there’s a serious green trust gap between companies and consumers.
It’s not that people aren’t interested in environmentally sound products. BBMG’s study, entitled Conscious Consumer Report: Redefining Value in a New Economy, shows that 77% of Americans think they “can make a positive difference by purchasing products from socially or environmentally responsible companies.” But most people don’t trust product packaging and company advertising to guide them in the right direction. Instead, consumers look to certification seals and labels as well as ingredient lists to determine whether products are actually green.

It’s getting easier every day for people without environmental science backgrounds to see through false advertising. GoodGuide, for example, provides detailed health and environmental ratings for a number of food, personal care, and household chemical products. A number of green seals of approval have also popped up recently, including Green Seal and the Canada Environmental Choice Program.
So take note, big companies. Consumers are watching you, and they’ll shell out the big bucks if your eco-claims have substance. According to BBMG, half of all Americans are willing to pay more for products with social and environmental benefits, and 67% of those surveyed agreed that “”even in tough economic times, it is important to purchase products with social and environmental benefits.”
If people don’t like what you’re doing, they won’t hesitate to tell their friends. Nearly half (48%) of all Americans tell others to stop buying products if they discover that brands engage in environmentally destructive practices.
After all is said and done, BBMG’s survey tells us what we already knew: it pays to tell the truth, especially if the truth makes you look good.

2 responses

  1. As a green company, a challenge for us is to find those organizations that actually provide value in certification and are not out just to make a buck following the new green trend. What are real measures of green and sustainability, is it enough not be environmentally destructive? It seems today most of green is about marketing message and maybe a different box (or bottle in the case of some bottled water companies).

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