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       About once a week someone asks me if I think consumers are giving up on “green” because of the recession. Some of them hope it’s true---because their company has not capitalized on the green trend. Some of them are scared it’s true---because they are personally or professionally committed to sustainability.

       My answer is always the same: a loud “NO.” And, for those of you who don’t consider my word gospel (hard to believe, but...), there is a pile of research studies on my desk that support that conclusion. The most recent poll, from Harris Interactive, shows that 67% of people who purchased green products last year are buying the same number this year despite the economy. 26% are buying more, and only 8% are buying fewer. These results are quite similar to data from other studies.

       What’s more, it’s a mistake to assume that consumers who are not buying green products today (for whatever reason) will not buy them very soon. A full 70% of Americans say they are, “Paying full attention to companies’ environmental actions, even if they cannot buy until the future.” And 35% say they have higher expectations for companies’ sustainability activities during the downturn than they did a year ago.

       Green is here. Green is going to stay. A small segment of green buyers have gone into hibernation, but, the economic winter will come to an end soon, and they’ll be back.

We should think about...
  • Have we backed off our sustainability activities due to the recession?
  • Are we keeping in mind that 70% of consumers are planning tomorrow’s purchases based on our environmental actions today?
Sources: 2009; Business Wire 2009; Center for Media Research 2009;
Harris Interactive 2009; Mintel 2009; Progressive Grocer 2009
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