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Green Seduction:

Grant Ferrier- publishes Environmental Business Journal much of the funding for alternative energy removed by Reagan industry's Dept. of Energy. To them, it was cheaper to use oil then, so they went with it. it also removed the solar water heaters Jimmy Carter installed on the white house roof. to reagan, conservation or any restraint in the consumption was bad for morale and economy. coal was cheaper than wind energy, though effects like pollution and waste weren't counted on the balance sheet. if externalizes were counted, wind and solar would have been cost competitive

Mike Rolland- Wetland Studies and Solutions in N.VA co. helps developers negotiate wetlands policy. in doing so, creates many wetlands in the area. N. Va originally was muddy,marshy, developers filled in marshes.

Congress passed Air Pollution Control Act=1955

Clean Air Act of 1963, amendments in 1970 set Ntl. Ambient Air Quality Standards, standards for cars,

NEPA=enacted by Nixon in 1970

First Earth Day=1970

Clean Water Act-1972 (before this sewage was dumped into waterways) idea- reuse sludge extracted from water during purification to rebuild marshes

Safe Drinking Water Act-1974

For every $1 spent on compliance with Clean Air Act between 1970 and 1990 $20 was saved through improved health and environmental conditions

Air Pollution discussed since Rome. in 1285 King Edward I established first air pollution commission. burning coal outlawed in London

Denmark- world's leader in wind power, 9% of power comes from wind. windmills kill 30k birds. in US less than 1/10th of 1% of power comes from wind, 70k birds die. in Denmark traffic kills 1M birds a year. in US 60M birds killed by traffic. p.166

people accept what they know best, don't want to invest in new technologies. p.166

certain kinds of recycling use more energy than using new materials. (carpet? - talks about carpet in this part of book) p.181

parallel drawn from safety practices in companies in early 1990s (lots of death) to safety practices now. cultural shift occurred. people no longer thought death, dismemberment was an acceptable cost of business. /quality movement of 80s (what's that?)

sustainability, social responsibility, environmental soundness all part of a 3 legged stool p185

alignment between 1st industrial revolution concept of take, make, waste from a materials standpoint and buy it, depreciate it, throw it away from an economics standpoint. sustainability and Evergreen Lease are in alignment p 186

10 lb laptop results in 40,000 lbs. waste p 188

key not to produce less, but produce differently p. 188

Survey by Environics: Respondents who agreed with statement "To preserve people's jobs in this country, we must accept higher levels of pollution in the future." went from 17% in 1996 to 26% in 2000 "most of the people actively involved in environmental groups are extremists, not reasonable people." went from 32% in 1996 to 41% in 2000 p. 195

1st wave of environmentalism framed around conservation and 2nd around regulation, believe 3rd wave will be framed around investment p. 195

starting point is an ideal p. 197

possible "experts" Grant Ferrier- in CA Mike Robland- in n. Va Roy Anderson- president of interface carpet, made co. sustainable before it was popular Patrick Farley- local architecht- Watershed __________________________________________________________________________________________

I added some more! Here's a look at some of the generational info I found. There is a discrepancy on how to define our age group. Some lump us with teens and some categorize us as Millenials or Gen Yers.

Gen Yers: - Trendsetters in this group are drawn more to brands that speak to them in a "straightforward and stripped-down way, use plain packaging, and avoid excess." - Age 21-27 ( - They may be less radical than baby boom activitists in the 1960s and 70s; but thanks in large part to the Internet, this generation is much more aware of the world. - 61% of 13-25 year olds feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world

     - 69% consider a company's socia and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop an 83% will trust a company more if it is socially/environmentally responsible.

- Millenials are the most socially conscious consumers to date - "This whole recent spurt is largely concentrated among kids of the upper middle class...The have notss are actually more detached than before." (

Baby Boomers: - After decades of indifference, they are starting to change their buying habits in response to global warming. And automakers are roling out a growing list of vehicles to take advantage of the changing attitudes. WHY were they indifferent? - Hybrids, which even recently were viewed as a fad, are gaining traction in the marketplace. Is this indicative of where the "green" fad may go? Will it not fade away? How can marketers and retailers sustain it? - "I was raised at the tail end of the 1950s, when environmental activism was born. Concern for the environment has been instilled in me my whole life. I recycle. I plant trees. I am a member of the Wildlife Fund..." Joe Morra, 50 - In CONTRAST: "Maybe it's my age or just having a grandson. He's almost 2. I hope the resourcces are there so he's able to drive and the other natural resources are in good condition- the water and the air. I really didn't think about it before until recently." Susan Gayle, 51 ( ( - "It's not about saving the world. It's about making a statement about yoursel and your values and that you are caring and conscientious." - The baby boomers are making a turn toward a stronger commitment to the environment that is a much more socially responsible approach in the use of our natural resources, energy consumption, energy independence and global warming, and many of them are going to show their new social responsibility outwardly in the form of new environmentally friendly vehicles...for which they are willing to pay 20% more for - In 2006, 74% of Americans said they had a good understanding of global warming, compared to just 53% in 1992. - Socially conscious Boomers are now being called Zoomers and with the commitment to the environment, they also:

 - Know the difference between primary and secondary aging
 - Performs daily exercise
 - Calculates saily nutritional and caloric needs
 - Orchestrates a social support system 
 - Enjoys a positive self-concept and a passion for living life to the fullest
 - Achieves the resources necessar to live an adventurous life

(Http://www. - Leading the way when it comes to good recycling habits. - 65% of over 50s confirmed they always recycle at hoome

 - Those under 50 who did not recycle said it was too much hassle and they dislike it sitting in their home, lack of nearby recycling bins, llack o space to store and sort it, and lack of time to recycle

- Over a 1/3 of them (31%) started recycling over 5 years ago and over a million as many as 20 years ago. (

Teens: Remember some of the info is in the Gen Y section - Media: teens are multi-tasking- they're instant messaging, watching TV, listening to the radio, and flipping through a magazine at the sam time. - "You really need to have an open dialogue with them." This is the first generation to actually demand this from advertising. ( - A new study shows that online teens who are actively concerned with trendy issues are more responsive to online advertising. Green is a trendy issue. - Online teenagers who self-identified as being concerned abot the environment tend to be more receptive to online advertising and to have more influence over their peers - 53% of teens are concerned or very concerned about the environment. - "Green Teens" were also more interested in music than the average online teenager. - Do most teens see the green movment as trendy or a true concern? - This population is reasonably perceptive, and unlikely to succumb to marketers who slap on a green label for something that's completely artificial. - the 13-17 year old segement takes in a significant amount of TV and music- leads to developing a multimedia campaign rather than a solely online campaign. ( {This is about British consumers, but could possibly relate to our consumers too??} Consumers and the Great, Green Chasm: Why Don't Americans 'Shop Their Talk'?

Despite a surge (though not an invasion) of corporate environmental practices, companies seem to be having trouble convincing American consumers that their environmental commitments and deeds are worth buying into. And despite consumers' apparently overwhelming concerns about climate change and the fate of the earth, they don't seem to be doing a very good job of translating those concerns in the marketplace.

Those are my takeaways from the most recent survey data on green consumer attitudes to hit my in-box. It suggests that while companies are doing a much better job than ever before in integrating environmental thinking into their policies, processes, and products, they've got their work cut out for them in the marketing arena.

The survey, conducted by Mintel International Group, published last fall, was based on responses from 3,000 U.S. consumers. (Titled simply "Green Living – US," it is available online for $4,450. The price of market wisdom isn't cheap.) Mintel tells us that "the green movement is growing" and that "35 million Americans are 'True Greens' who regularly buy green products." It proffers:

With approximately eight out of ten consumers and executives positively aligned towards green thinking, there appears to be a strong case for much more development of green products. It was perhaps fitting that the executive summary of the report arrived last Friday -- Groundhog Day in the U.S. -- as I've seen similar statements and supporting data regularly for nearly twenty years now. The first such assertion was made in 1989 by the Michael Peters Group, a now-defunct U.K. design firm that collapsed a few years later in the wake of a financially disastrous acquisition. Michael Peters told us, among other things, that 77% of Americans say a company's environmental reputation affects what they buy, and a whopping 89 percent of Americans were concerned about the impact their purchases have on the environment.

Since then, a succession of reports from reputable researchers have come up with similarly rosy figures. Indeed, the numbers haven't changed much despite 18 annual Earth Days, five presidential administrations, and the birth, death, and rebirth of the electric car. A clear majority of Americans has stated consistently that they are ready, willing, and able to buy green products.

But a deeper look into Mintel's findings reveals that Americans are, at best, fickle about buying green. They do so only occasionally, in only a handful of product categories, and inconsistently. "Even among core 'enlightened,' committed consumers remain low," acknowledges Mintel.

According to Mintel's take, the "green marketplace" is estimated "at over $200 billion." Since I didn't pop for the full study, I don't know how these figures were derived. (I assume that for four grand, they break it down somewhat.) Mintel refers, in its executive summary, to "a wide range of green products -- from paper goods to home building supplies" and also mentions cars, natural and organic foods, appliances, and solar energy, so I'm guessing they're all included.

That $200 billion amounts isn't much, when you spread it over the 68% of Mintel respondents who "sometimes buy green products." That 38%, aggregated nationally, represents about 79 million U.S. households, which means these shoppers are spending just under $50 per week on average on green purchases. That's an okay start, but amounts to a mere 6.8% of the annual $43,395 average consumer pruchases per U.S. household, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2004, the most recent available.

Put another way, two-thirds of Americans say they are buying green, but are spending barely more than a nickel per dollar doing so.

Why, in an era of concern over climate change, energy security, childhood asthma, and the fate of polar bears, are consumers still not voting for the environment with their wallets? Why don't consumer purchases match their stated concerns about their communities and their world? Why do they say one thing and do another?

How come we're not shopping our talk?

The failure to adequately answer and address these questions will forever stymie markets for green products and services, despite a thousand magazine cover stories and TV specials trumpeting the greening of Americans and their companies. There's a huge need for research -- not necessarily about how many consumers say they are shopping green, but real-life research about why well-meaning, well-informed, and politically progressive citizens -- including many of us -- don't align our concerns with our purchases.

There's plenty of blame to go around. Most consumers aren't willing to spend time understanding the environmental and social impacts of what they buy, and won't accept (m)any compromises in their purchases in terms of brand loyalty, product attributes, price, and style in the name of "saving the planet." And companies are notoriously poor at telling their stories, relying on yesterday's marketing strategies to address today's issues, sensibilities, and concerns. (If I see one more quote or paraphrase of Kermit's isn't-easy-being-green lyric from his 1972 (!) Muppets song, I'll scream. Haven't we come up with something more compelling in the last 35 years?)

The time is ripe for change. Green marketing -- which had a brief upsurge in the early 1990s, then went underground before resurfacing a few years ago at a fairly low-level but persistent level -- seems to be coming back. Advertisers appear willing to once again step into the green breach, however timidly, and claims of greenwashing by activists seem to be less frequent, and even then, relatively impotent. Could a green-marketing renaissance be coming?

If it is, marketers will need to dramatically improve the state of the art, if they hope to grow markets for energy-efficiency cars and appliances, renewable energy systems, and less-toxic products -- not to mention products of all kinds from companies with good reputations derived from their environmental leadership.

What is needed to take green consumerism to the next level? Who's doing it well? How can companies do it better? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Green Consumers and the Mushiness Index

A new market research study of Americans' green passions and buying habits is out from the venerable Yankelovich.

First, the bottom line. "Given consumer attitudes today, green is best characterized as a niche opportunity in the consumer marketplace," says Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich. "It is a strong niche opportunity, but it is not a mainstream interest that is passionately held or strongly felt by the majority of consumers."

Or, perhaps more to the point: "The majority of consumers really don't care all that much about the environment. Green simply doesn't has not captured the public imagination."


After endless months of magazine covers, TV specials, Al Gore, Live Earth, and a gazillion other media stories and events, how can this be? After all the warnings about flooded coastlines, drowning polar bears, more Katrinas, and the increased threat of invasion of everything from infectious insects to rogue superweeds, why aren't people concerned? Has all this fallen on deaf ears?

Says Smith: "The fact is, the amount of media interest given to the environment far exceeds the amount of consumer interest. It's not that consumers aren't aware of the environment, but there's something missing in the way consumers are processing information given to them about the environment today."

Consider: 82% of Americans have neither read nor seen Al Gore's book or movie.

That will likely be news to the many environmental activists and professionals I hear from who proclaim that we've reached a "tipping point" or "inflection point" on the environment -- the notion that public sentiment is growing, and will soon lead companies and products to transform their ways of doing business. (This may be the real green business bubble I keep hearing about.)

The problem, explains Smith, is that green marketing realities fly in the face of conventional marketing wisdom. "People don't buy products. They buy solutions to problems," as Ted Levitt, a marketing guru at Harvard Business School, once famously put it. But since most consumers don't see the environment as a problem, green marketers must take an extra step, helping them not just to understand the problem, but to actually care about it.

Some of Yankelovich's findings are sobering, to say the least. For example, 37% of consumers feel "highly concerned" about environmental issues, but only 25% feel highly knowledgeable about environmental issues. And only 22% feel they can make a difference when it comes to the environment.

The Yankelovich study, like many others before it, offers a consumer segmentation model, dividing the marketplace into five groups (in declining order of commitment): Greenthusiasts (13% of the U.S. population, or more than 30 million consumers), Greenspeaks (15%), Greensteps (25%), Greenbits (19%) -- and the biggest group, Greenless (29%). As with other segmentation models, there is a rich lode of data and psychographics about each.

Yankelovich's segmentations are based both on attitudes and actual behaviors, which sets them apart from most others, which are based only on attitudes. This is where things get interesting. According to the research, green behaviors and attitudes often take divergent paths -- green attitudes don't always predict green behavior, and green behaviors often occur without accompanying attitudes. Example: Greenbits consumers say they are more inclined to pay more than Greenspeaks consumers for green products, but their behavior doesn't sync up -- they buy these products less frequently than the Greenspeak-ers.

All of which presents opportunities for green marketers to change attitudes as well as behaviors, if done so in a targeted fashion. For example, says Smith, if you're trying to change the behaviors of Greenless and Greenbits consumers, increasing their knowledge has nothing to do with it. "It is strictly a matter of making it personally relevant," he says. "This is the group that is most likely to think that the media are making things seem worse than they really are."

Making all of this even more challenging is something Yankelovich calls the Mushiness Index, a device developed by Daniel Yankelovich himself more than a quarter-century ago. It measures the firmness of opinion on a topic -- the degree to which consumers are comfortable and sure about how they think.

When it comes to the environment, opinions are pretty mushy, Yankelovich found. "The vast majority of people don't have very well-articulated views of the environment," says Yankelovich. "They can answer an overnight public opinion poll. But that's not an answer they can necessarily talk about in-depth or understand the costs and consequences about those things. Even something like global warming, where there's been a lot of talk, the distribution of opinion is not very firm."

There's a lot more good stuff here. You can watch a one-hour webinar on the Yankelovich study here (registration required).

The bottom line is that there is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy when it comes to green. That may seem like common sense, but such wisdom seems to elude most marketers, who still insist on pushing out marketing efforts that are variously too vague, too technical, or way too -- well, mushy.

July 16, 2007 in Green Marketing | Permalink


Who are the green consumers? Understanding the demographics of green consumerism can help entrepreneurs explore the environmental market, and home in on likely prospects. Research has shown that green consumers:

are sincere in their intentions, with a growing commitment to greener lifestyles;

almost always judge their environmental practices as inadequate;

do not expect companies to be perfect in order to be considered 'green'. Rather, they look for companies that are taking substantive steps and have made a commitment to improve.

However, they also:

tend to overstate their green behaviour, including the number of green products they actually use;

want environmental protection to be easy, and not to entail major sacrifices;

tend to distrust companies' environmental claims, unless they have been independently verified;

lack knowledge about environmental issues, and tend not to trust themselves to evaluate scientific information about environmental impacts. However, at the same time they are eager to learn, and this means that consumer education is one of the most effective strategies that entrepreneurs can use.

The most responsive age group tends to be young adults, many of whom are influenced by their children. In addition, women are a key target for greener products, and often make purchases on behalf of men.

The best 'green' customers are people with more money to spend. As a result, the most promising products for 'greening' tend to be at the higher end of the market. The most promising outlets for green products are retail stores frequented by better-off shoppers.

In general, green consumers have the education and intellectual orientation to appreciate value; they will understand evidence that is presented in support of environmental claims.

In the US, children and teens are generally more concerned than adults about the environment, and are more knowledgeable about green alternatives. Increasingly, they influence their parents' purchasing decisions. Equally importantly, millions of them will reach adulthood in the next decade, and gain purchasing power of their own.

At the opposite end of the age spectrum, US consumers born before the 1950s are the least 'green'. As their numbers diminish, their share of consumer purchases will dwindle.

In Canada, children and parents alike tend to have strong environmental concerns. Older people, too, tend to be active green purchasers. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Whatever Happened to Green Consumers? ........... by Joel Makower

public-opinion surveys report that roughly three Americans in four call themselves "environmentalists," and that marketing studies tell us that roughly 7 in 10 consumers would gladly choose the greener product over its less-green counterpart, so why has green consumerism remained a largely marginal aspect of shopping?

The chasm between green concern and green consumerism is, for me, one of the more curious and frustrating aspects of the environmental movement. For all the activism and consciousness-raising, for all the thinking locally and acting globally, the overwhelming majority of consumers haven’t exactly demanded greener products. Only a relative handful of consumers regularly go out of their way to make environmentally preferable buying choices.

It seems the so-called green consumer movement was one of those well-intended passing fancies, a testimony to North Americans’ never-ending quest for simple, quick, and efficient solutions to complex problems.

What happened? Here are five reasons why the environment has failed to become a mainstream market force:

1. There's no mandate. Though polls tell us that most consumers prefer greener products, the polls are misleading: they fail to ask the right questions. If you pose a question as a green-versus-ungreen choice, as I did at the beginning of this column, the answer is obvious: everyone prefers the greener choice. But if you probe deeper into consumer attitudes, the real answer is that consumers will choose the greener product -- IF it doesn’t cost more… comes from a brand they know and trust . . . can be purchased at stores where they already shop . . . doesn’t require a significant change of habits to use . . . and has at least the same level of quality, performance, and endurance as the less-green alternative.

That’s a high hurdle for any product. No wonder mainstream consumers turned off to environmentally conscious shopping.

2. The public is dazed and confused. Shopping with Mother Earth in mind is no mean feat, even for the most savvy of shoppers. After all, understanding the environmental implications of something as simple as paper versus plastic shopping bags requires digesting a fair amount of science, some of which is inconclusive, contradictory, or simply arguable. Both, after all, come from limited, declining resources, can be made from recycled material, and can be recycled. Which is better? Even the scientists don’t agree. (Of course, the greenest bag is the reusable organic cotton or hemp bag you use thousands of times before it must be turned into compost, but that notion rarely gets considered at the end of a checkout line.)

3. People lack perspective. Similarly, most people don't have a clue about the relative environmental impacts of the things they do every day. For example, a good many self-described green consumers don't seem to find irony in jumping into their poorly tuned, gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles with a cold engine and underinflated tires to drive a couple miles out of their way in bumper-to-bumper traffic in order to purchase their favorite brand of recycled paper towels. Will buying the right laundry detergent or ice cream make the world safe for gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and chain saws? You make the call.

The whole notion of green consumerism unwittingly contributes to this lack of perspective. It implies that greener purchases can help "save the earth." The dirty little secret of green consumerism is that we’re not likely to shop our way to environmental health.

4. Companies making greener products are afraid to speak up. With good reason. Those early purveyors of "degradable trash bags" and "ozone-friendly aerosols" got their wrists slapped, so marketers are understandably gun-shy on making environmental claims, particularly those that are scientifically debatable. And most companies aren't environmentally pure, so to call attention to one’s green goods risks calling attention to one’s ecological skeletons. Better to keep one's corporate mouth shut, right?

5. Green benefits aren't always evident. As the Levi’s example demonstrates, many environmental initiatives companies take don't show up on product labels. For example, Anheuser-Busch saves millions of pounds of aluminum a year by shaving 1/8" off the diameter of its beer cans, though they don’t put eco-labels on cans of Busch and Bud. Nonetheless, they’re having a significant impact when you consider the energy and resource inputs of aluminum, and the energy savings from trucking lighter-weight cans. It’s certainly a greater environmental contribution than that of consumers pondering "paper versus plastic."

For now, it seems green consumerism is destined to be limited to the roughly 10% to 12% of the marketplace that pollsters tell us are willing to regularly seek out and buy green products, regardless of how much more they cost or what lengths one must go to find them. Despite its frustrations, green consumerism remains a powerful, largely untapped tool for environmental change. The fact is, as I pointed out a decade ago, every time we open our wallets, we cast a vote, for or against the environment. And the marketplace isn’t a democracy: It doesn’t take 51% voting in one direction to effect change. A relatively small number of consumers can be a potent force. The model works. We just need to make it work harder.

......................................................20:05, 3 September 2007 (UTC)20:05, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

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