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Americans Reach Environmental Turning Point...Companies Need to Catch Up According to Gfk Roper Green Gauge(R) Study

Americans Reach Environmental Turning Point...Companies Need to Catch Up According to Gfk Roper Green Gauge(R) Study

Published 08-22-07

Submitted by GfK Custom Research North America

NEW YORK - August 22, 2007 - GfK Roper Consulting, a division of GfK Custom Research North America, today released its 2007 GfK Roper Green Gauge(R) study, finding the vast majority (87%) of consumers agreeing they are seriously concerned about the environment. In fact, most Americans are looking to the federal government to strengthen their enforcement of green regulations and (73%), while they say having a balance between economic growth and environmental protection is the goal, the environment should come first when a conflict arises (52%).

The top five environmental issues weighing heaviest on America's minds are water pollution and rainforest destruction (56%), diminishing fresh water supply (55%), fuel and energy shortages (54%) and man-made outdoor air pollution (53%). Asked who should take the lead in addressing these and other environmental issues, half of consumers (50%) rank the federal government first and 62% believe current legislation does not do enough to positively impact the environment.

Companies Falling Short"¦Missing a Growth Opportunity

Business and industry came in second with respect to whom consumers think should take the environmental lead, tied with individual Americans at 35%. However, less than one third of respondents (29%) believe corporate America has fulfilled their environmental protection responsibilities well. In fact, consumers are looking for more green transparency with 74% agreeing every large company should be required to prepare an annual statement of its impact on the environment.

The study results also suggest companies that are slow to take green action may hinder their future growth. A vast majority of consumers say a company's environmental practices are important in making key decisions including: the products they purchase (79%), the products/services they recommend to others (77%), where they shop (74%), where they choose to work (73%), and where they invest their money (72%).

Additionally, four in ten Americans say they are willing to pay for a product that is perceived as being better for the environment. At the same time, 55% agree many environmentally-safe products are not actually better for the environment and most say they are too expensive (74%) and don't work as well (61%).

Finding the Right Balance...Which Green is More Important?

When asked the main responsibility of large companies, slightly more than one third (35%) of Americans say businesses should be competitive but not at the cost of reducing their green efforts. Another 42% agree they should be equally responsible for competitiveness and environmental protection. However, should a conflict arise between the two, a majority of Americans (52%) say protecting the environment is a more important concern than economic growth.

Many Shades of Green

Segmenting consumers based on their green attitudes and actions, the study identified five key groups:

  • True Blue Greens: Environmental leaders and activists most likely to walk the green talk representing almost one third (30%) of the population. Nearly half (48%) turn to environmental groups as their main source of green information.

  • Green Back Greens: Do not have time to be completely green and not likely to give up comfort and convenience for the environment, but willing to buy green products. They represent 10% of the population. Nearly half (49%) get information on green issues from newspapers.

  • Sprouts: Environmental "fence sitters" who buy green only if it meets their needs representing just over one quarter (26%) of the population. One third cite newspapers as their main source of green information.

  • Grousers: Generally uninvolved and disinterested in green issues; believe individual behavior cannot improve environment. 15% of the population. Newspapers again serve as their major information source on green issues.

  • Apathetics: Not concerned enough about the environment to take action and believe environmental indifference is the mainstream. This group represents just 18% of the population. TV programs are their main source of environmental information.

    Lack of Education Hinders Many from Going Green

    Though the American mindset has shifted to become more environmentally-conscious, half of consumers say they "do not have the information to be personally involved in increasing their green behavior" and "aren't sure which products and packaging materials are recyclable." Nearly half (49%) also state they would do more for the environment if they only knew how. The increasing speed of daily life has also had an impact as 48% admit they know they should make the green lifestyle changes but are too busy. Asked why they seek environmental information, equal numbers (52%) of consumers point to protecting their personal/family health as those who say they are looking to "personally protect the environment."

    "America is experiencing an environmental awakening," adds Kathy Sheehan, senior vice president with GfK Roper Consulting. "However, a 'green gap' still exists between consumer awareness and action. Americans want to do the right thing, but lack of information, cost and questions around the true impact of current green products are contributing to their reluctance. Companies who make being green easier and more affordable will be rewarded."

    For more information about the 2007 GfK Roper Green Gauge(R) Study, please contact Deanna Decker at (212) 752-8338 or You can also visit

    About GfK Roper Green Gauge(R)

    The 2007 GfK Roper Green Gauge(R) Study surveyed 2,000 American adults ages 18 and up via the GfK Online Consumer Panel in May 2007. All data are based on and weighted to represent the total online population.

    About GfK Roper Consulting

    With offices in the U.S. and UK, GfK Roper Consulting is a division of GfK Custom Research North America. Offering over 30 years of syndicated research and analysis, GfK Roper Consulting is responsible for GfK Roper Reports(R) US and GfK Roper Reports(R) Worldwide, the most up-to-the-minute view of the consumer marketplace in the U.S. and around the globe. In addition, in the U.S. the division has an ongoing study of consumers' attitudes towards the environment

    -- GfK Roper Green Gauge(R) and insights into the US Youth market through the GfK Roper Youth ReportTM.

    About GfK Custom Research North America

    Headquartered in New York, GfK Custom Research North America is part of the GfK Group. With home offices in Nuremberg, Germany, the GfK Group is the No. 4 market research organization worldwide. Its activities cover five business divisions: Custom Research, Retail and Technology, Consumer Tracking, Media and HealthCare. The Group has 115 companies and a current total of 8,200 employees who offer market research services for 90 countries.

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    GfK Custom Research North America

    GfK Custom Research North America

    Headquartered in New York, GfK Custom Research North America is part of the GfK Group, the world's fourth largest market research company. GfK Custom Research North America combines the global resources of the GfK Group with the local knowledge of North America's leading fact-based consultancies. Beyond our sector-specific experts, specialty practice areas and research center for excellence, we deliver unmatched knowledge designed to help your business grow. By offering access to several of the world's largest databases combined with a full-range of ad-hoc research services, we deliver proven, state-of-the-art solutions developed from a 360° view of your market, including our annual GfK Roper Green Gauge® study, which provides insights into consumer attitudes toward environmental issues.

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