The latest consumer research has shown that the American public are now just as interested in purchasing eco-friendly or 'green' services, including insurance services and with which airline to fly with, as they are in eco-friendly household goods, such as cleaning products.
The study, completed by research company Mintel, reviewed consumer choices between 2008 and 2010 in the U.S and confirmed that their interest in 'green' services has doubled in this period.
In 2008 only 12% of U.S. consumers were concerned about whether or not their dry cleaner considered the environment and only 13% were concerned about the 'greenness' of the hotels they frequent. Yet in 2010 there was a major jump in the numbers paying attention to the green credentials of service organisations, with 34% worried about dry cleaners green actions and 29% concerned about the eco-friendly behaviour of their favourite hotel. An important part of consumers purchasing decisions now include how these service providers manage their impact on the environment.
A senior analyst at Mintel Fiona O'Donnell said, ''The rapid increase in consumer interest was likely facilitated by increased availability of 'greener' alternatives in many service industries and increased marketing of green practices by service providers''. Information relating to issues of sustainability and the environment are now a common part of service providers' communication and marketing material.
However, 'green washing' is a major concern for American consumers who are worried about how companies actually define they are 'green' or eco-friendly and if their 'green' claims are actually true. ''Less than half of consumers say they don’t know how to verify a company's claim that they're 'green', but that number has declined compared to 2008'', says Fiona O'Donnell. Service providers need to be increasingly transparent about the 'green' standards they are complying with and how they are going about their daily activities.
Having government-set environmental standards is a really important step towards making sure the environmental credentials being claimed by service companies are actually happening.