Britain: An Un-Green And Pleasant Land
Written by GfK NOP
20 Oct 2010
Britain is one of the most environmentally cynical nations in the western world with one-in-five people (1) believing climate change is not a serious issue.
The figure is the highest amongst the top five European markets, and places the UK behind only the United States amongst western nations, GfK’s Green Gauge Global study reveals.
The report from GfK Roper Consulting examined green habits of 36,000 consumers in 25 countries and discovered that a third of UK consumers (2) still don’t consider the environment when making purchasing decisions and three-quarters (3) never look into companies’ green policies.
Furthermore, just 18 per cent of people chose green sources of energy for their homes and cars (4), again a figure that also places the UK in the same bracket as the USA.
However, it is not all bad news for Britain as it is sixth-best for recycling amongst the markets studied with four in five Britons (5) also striving to conserve energy in the home. Such progressive environmental behaviours suggest that long-term education can help convert the cynics and open up green goods to a wider market.
Joe Staton, Director of Global Consumer Trends at GfK Roper Consulting said
"We have to realise that Britain’s green attitudes will not be transformed overnight – this will be a gradual change, not a sea change. Businesses, individuals and the government must work harder to engage people in conversations that speak to them on a personal level. Approaching specific audiences in this way can pay rich dividends.”
The study identifies five distinct types of environmental consumers ranging from the dominant (6) and cynical ‘Jaded’ category, through to the proactive and positive ‘Green in Deeds’.
The second largest UK group are the ‘Carbon Cultured’ who believe companies and governments are responsible for taking the lead on the environment while the outwardly environmental ‘Glamour Greens’ come fourth.
UK consumers are comparatively well versed in green issues, ‘Green in Needs’ – those who lack environmental knowledge – represent just two per cent of the UK populace.
"UK consumers are diverse beings and approach environmental issues from a wide range of perspectives. Trying to connect with them as a single mass by sticking a green label on a product – be it a can of tuna or car – will not work. Instead business and government must market to them in a targeted way to help bring about an evolution in their habits.”
Holly Heline Jarrell, Group Managing Director, GfK Roper Consulting said
"At the start of this new decade green concerns and behaviours are planted firmly on the global consumer map. But the results show that markets worldwide are dramatically different, each with their own barriers and opportunities – from consumers displaying deeply ingrained green behaviours to others using green as a status symbol. Green is a global issue but more than ever, one approach does not fit all.”
About the survey
These results are drawn from GfK Roper Consulting's Green Gauge ® Report. The survey was conducted by GfK Roper in January and February 2010 among 1,509 GB adults.
1) 18 per cent of those surveyed in the UK did not think global climate change was "that serious” an issue
2) 32 per cent of those surveyed in the UK never/almost never take environmental protection into consideration when making major purchasing decisions
3) 74 per cent of those surveyed in the UK never/almost never do research into companies’ environmental practices
4) 18 per cent of UK consumers choose less polluting/more efficient sources of energy for their cars and homes all or most of the time.
5) 78 per cent of those surveyed in the UK conserve energy in the home all/most of the time
6) 42 per cent of UK consumers are rated as ‘Jaded’
Green Gauge is an annual syndicated study of consumer environmental attitudes and behaviors. This study has been conducted in the United States since 1992 and has expanded in 2010 to include 24 additional markets around the Globe - including the UK.
About GfK Roper
For more information please vist http://www.gfkamerica.com/practice_areas/roper_consulting/index.en.html
London - 8 October 2010