People care less about the environment or green marketing claims than they did a few years ago, yet they’re also less likely to doubt marketers’ green claims or motives, according to the new Green Gauge Report from GfK.
The 2011 version of the study, based on surveys of more than 2,000 respondents between June 9 and July 5, found only 33% said the environment is “very serious and should be a priority for everyone” this year, down from 39% last year and 46% in 2007. At the same time, 41% of people agreed with the statement “first comes economic security, then we can worry about environmental problems,” up 13 points from 2007, according to GfK.
Despite people being less responsive to environmental ad claims, they seem to believe them more often. The Green Gauge report found 39% of people say business claims about the environment aren’t accurate, substantially lower than the 48% who believed that three years ago. And 37% of respondents this year said business and industry are fulfilling their responsibility to the environment, up 8 points from 2007.
This, of course, is music to the corporate ear:
“There’s a thawing in attitudes toward greenwashing,” said [study author Timothy Kenyon]. “There’s also a realization from consumers, given the economy, that [companies] can only do so much.”
And there’s even more excellent news:
People also increasingly get their environmental information from marketers, Mr. Kenyon said.
Things to notice here include the explicit discussion of the landscape for greenwashing. That’s powerful evidence that, behind closed doors and despite public denials, greenwashing is indeed the ultimate, intentionally planned aim of corporate “green” marketing efforts.
Also, don’t let the obscurity of the name “GfK” fool you. This is the biggest of big-time work:
You can rest assured the “consumer package goods” giants are lapping up this exciting research.