ATLANTA—Americans want environmentally friendly products and are willing to pay a premium for them, according to a new study conducted by GreenPrint, an Atlanta-based global environmental technology company.
The company’s first Business of Sustainability Index found that most Americans (74%) don’t know how to identify eco-friendly products, and nearly two-thirds (64%) are willing to pay more for sustainable products. The study found that if a product is clearly labeled as environmentally friendly, 78% of people are more likely to purchase the product.
However, consumers are wary of many environmental claims, according to the study. When companies say they are environmentally friendly, a majority of people doubt the claims, with 53% of Americans never or only sometimes believing such claims. To trust a company statement, 45% of Americans say they need a third-party validating source.
“Businesses are in a bind,” said Pete Davis, CEO and co-founder, GreenPrint. “Broadcasting sustainability would capture an untapped consumer base but also sow distrust. We’d suggest they follow the data. Third-party validation helps certify progress in the eyes of consumers, and the process of carbon offsetting—which is easy to measure and communicate—helps create tangible benchmarks. Both are good tools for building trust.”
Other key findings of GreenPrint’s Business of Sustainability Index include:
- Millennials (75%) are willing to pay more for environmentally sustainable products, compared to Gen Z (63%), Gen X (64%) and baby boomers (57%).
- 77% of Americans are concerned about the environmental impact of products they buy.
- More than half (56%) of Americans would use a credit card that could calculate and offset the environmental footprint of products purchased. There’s also a conspicuous difference between generations, with Millennials (71%) and Gen Z (66%) willing to do so, compared to Gen X (50%), baby boomers (46%) and the Silent Generation (39%).
- 76% of Americans would switch their preferred packaged goods brand if they were offsetting carbon emissions, and 74% would switch gasoline brands in the same situation.
- Comparing sectors, 78% of respondents said food/groceries are doing well in terms of demonstrating their commitment to the environment. Tech is close behind at 74%, while gas stations and convenience stores ranked lower at 51% and 54%, respectively.
The GreenPrint index and its future editions will track consumer sentiment around sustainability in the economy and how that impacts consumer preference and perceptions of companies and products.
“Companies must build trust and loyalty by clearly demonstrating that they share environmental goals with their customers,” Davis said. “Defending and preserving our planet is not only the right thing to do, its good business.”
NACS is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star to provide retailers with resources to improve their energy usage. Additionally, NACS is conducting a survey to create the first-ever Energy Star certification for convenience stores. The survey is open for submissions until April 22. GreenPrint has offered to plant five trees for every store survey completed, and NACS aims to plant more than 1,500 trees. Additionally, the NACS Sustainability Playbook offers retailers ideas to improve and tell their sustainability story with tips on energy management, recycling and much more.
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