NEW YORK — Is that “eco-friendly” company really as eco-friendly as they’re eco-claiming to be? A new study finds most Americans aren’t buying what businesses are selling from an environmental standpoint. In fact, seven in 10 flat out don’t trust companies who claim to be “green.”
A national survey of 2,000 Americans reveals 71 percent believe companies claim to be sustainable — even when their actions aren’t. It’s that distrust that has only one in four (26%) respondents believing a company who uses words like “green” to describe their products.
Researchers also discovered that 71 percent believe the term “green” is used so often it’s become meaningless — with eco-friendly (57%) and sustainable (36%) also high on the list of overused and empty terms. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of CG Roxane, the survey finds that despite mistrusting labels, 23 percent are still “much more” likely to purchase from companies that use terms like “green” to describe their products.
Perhaps that’s not surprising, considering that 68 percent say they try to make environmentally-conscious decisions in their day-to-day lives. Another 64 percent add they’re working toward that mission by trying to purchase eco-friendly products on a regular basis. In fact, the average respondent said they would be willing to spend 21 percent more than the retail price for a product if they could guarantee what they were buying was actually eco-friendly.
‘Greenwashing’ can get in the way of a greener lifestyle
Results also show 59 percent specifically look for companies that make it easier to make “greener” decisions, but they can be difficult to find. Almost the same number (58%) said they struggle to find companies who live up to their “green” claims. Two in three Americans said it can be too difficult to understand whether or not a company is truly eco-friendly.
Part of the challenge is “greenwashing,” a term that only 41 percent of respondents were familiar with. After hearing the definition though — which is spreading disinformation to present a more environmentally responsible public image — 44 percent believe they’ve purchased from companies who participate in greenwashing.
“We believe it’s not only important to be an environmentally-friendly and a sustainability-forward company, but to be deeply involved in the conversation surrounding ‘green’ efforts. We encourage people to research and familiarize themselves with a company’s initiatives before making a purchase, and to make sure the organizations they support truly make an impact,” says Shawn Fitzpatrick, CG Roxane Vice President of Marketing, in a statement. “Anyone can put a couple of words on a label, but what real actions are they taking? Sustainability is not what you talk about, it’s what you do. It’s important to work together to protect where we live, which is why at the end of this year we will have reached the milestone of one million trees planted through our partnership with American Forests.”
Researchers also explored the various barriers people face when it comes to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Results revealed the top barrier is the higher costs of environmentally-friendly products (44%), with not having enough time to engage in eco-friendly actions (39%) following closely behind.
More than that, 27 percent said they have a lack of convenient access to sustainable options. Some good news however, the vast majority of respondents (94%) said they do care about making environmentally-friendly decisions.