It’s Not Easy Being Green: Greenwashing Loses Ground

A few months ago, I pondered  the reality versus hype of Green marketing. While acknowledging that Greenwashing is in overdrive, I referenced statistics showing that consumers want Green products and are happy to pay more for them.

Well, MORI Research has offered up some new studies raising the question: with the economy draining our bank accounts, is Green becoming less important? Last year 15% of UK consumers polled put the environment in their top three concerns. Today, that figure has dropped by a third to 10%. With the current market conditions, MORI says crime, the economy and rising prices are now top-of-mind

Here in the states, one only need observe the shift in talking points from McCain and Obama to see this trend as both candidates are spending a lot more time talking about the economy, gas and food prices than the environment these days.

And, a new Harris poll shows approximately 60% of Americans believe that economic growth and development is most important. A year ago, protecting the environment took the top spot.

Of course, that pendulum is always swinging isn’t it? And, on the flip side almost 200 million Americans buy green products (according to Mintel Research), a number that has consistently and substantially grown over the past five years. Similarly, over one-third of adults (36%) claim to “regularly buy green products,” triple the number just 16 months ago.

So, as usual, the truth lies in whichever study you want to quote and how you use those numbers. And, most importantly, it’s about marrying the right products with the right target audience. I know a lot of new moms who are all about recycling and protecting parks and who bring their cotton bags to the grocery store. But, I guarantee you none of them will give up their throw-a-way Pampers for cloth diapers that must be washed.

So, maybe the economy is merely shaking off some of the hype. Perhaps we’ll still see smart Green campaigns drive sales for relevant brands and everyone else will take a step back to ask themselves if that cereal with brightly colored candied puffs can really, truly be “naturally organic.”

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