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New Monthly Index Reveals Pent-Up Demand For Green Purchases

‘Green Confidence Index’ is first ever to provide monthly tracking of Americans on environmental responsibility, information, and purchasing

New Monthly Index Reveals Pent-Up Demand For Green Purchases

‘Green Confidence Index’ is first ever to provide monthly tracking of Americans on environmental responsibility, information, and purchasing

Published 10-29-09

Submitted by GreenBiz

American consumers are ready to increase their purchases of environmental products and services as the U.S. economy emerges from recession, though premium prices for green goods remain a barrier for many, according to a new monthly tracking service.

The Green Confidence Index, launched today, is a monthly snapshot of Americans' attitudes about and confidence in their leaders and institutions, nationally and locally, on the subject of environmental responsibility, as well as in their own understanding of issues and their willingness to make green purchasing choices. It is the first comprehensive monthly tracking of consumers’ green attitudes and purchasing.

The Index is a partnership of three leading business information services companies:, 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 based on a monthly survey of more than 2,500 adults who are nationally representative of the U.S. adult online population. It is calculated using responses in three areas:

  • Responsibility: how leaders and institutions are perceived to be addressing environmental issues (weight: 40%)
  • Information: the adequacy of information available to make informed decisions (20%)
  • Purchasing: past and future purchases of green products (40%)

The Index was set in July 2009 at 100.0. Today's release includes results from the first three months of survey results, through September 2009, when the composite Index stood at 103.8.

"Americans' attitudes about how they view environmental problems and solutions are complex and dynamic," says Joel Makower, executive editor of and chairman of Greener World Media. "For years, periodic surveys have tried to capture snapshots of those attitudes. By surveying monthly, the Green Confidence Index will reveal real-time shifts and nuances marketers don't usually see."

"Manufacturers and retailers are increasingly aware of 'the green gap,' where consumers' behaviors and purchases often lag behind intentions, due in part to marketplace confusion about what makes products green," according to Earthsense Chief Research Officer Amy Hebard. "As better information and clearer standards evolve, the Green Confidence Index will be a valuable monitor of progress in communications and how this translates into buying decisions."

In addition to the regular monthly tracking of attitudes and habits, the Green Confidence Index tracks Americans' perceptions of companies. Each month it asks, "What company, if any, do you think of as being 'green'?" This is an unaided question, meaning no list is provided. Respondents simply name companies that are front of mind.

In the inaugural report, Clorox and Walmart loomed far ahead of any other brands or companies mentioned, followed by (alphabetically) General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, Toyota, and Whole Foods. In all, more than 300 companies received at least one mention.

Another question asked Americans about the environmental information they use and trust "When you need information about environmental issues to guide decisions" about shopping, investing, and voting. Americans reported that they had little use for corporate blogs and websites, which were also deemed the least-trustworthy source of information. Friends, relatives, and colleagues were the highest-rated sources, with consumer ratings and reviews the second most-trusted source.

The Green Confidence Index is a subscription-based service. Top-level results of each month’s survey are published for public consumption by and distributed through news releases. More comprehensive data are available by subscription, including a monthly briefing document and a quarterly report spotlighting select trends and demographics. Annual subscriptions are $499, with charter subscriptions available at $299 through December 31, 2009.

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

ABOUT GREENBIZ.COM ( is the leading online resource on the greening of mainstream business, and the flagship website of Greener World Media (, a media and business information services company. GWM also produces,,, and, as well as the annual State of Green Business report, the Green Building Market and Impact report, the State of GreenBiz Forum, and the GreenBiz Executive Network, a peer-to-peer learning forum for senior sustainability officers at multinational companies.

Earthsense ( is an applied marketing and research company whose mission is to "make sense of our world to give confidence in the value of going green." It blends market research and database marketing principles to make consumer insights actionable. Earthsense is the creator of Eco-Insights, the largest study to focus on consumers and the environment (30,000 each wave), to help close the gap between attitudes and behaviors.

Survey Sampling International ( is the premier global provider of sampling solutions for survey research. SSI offers access to more than 6 million consumer and business-to-business research respondents in 54 countries via Internet, telephone, and mobile. Additional client services include custom profiling, survey programming and hosting, data processing, sampling consulting, and survey optimization. Founded in 1977, SSI has an international staff of 400
people representing 50 countries and 36 languages.

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GreenBiz Group is a media and events company that advances the opportunities at the intersection of business, technology and sustainability. Through its website, three annual events (GreenBiz, VERGE, Circularity), peer-to-peer network and research, GreenBiz promotes the potential to drive transformation and accelerate progress — within companies, cites, industries and in the very nature of business.

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