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Green Marketing - US - April 2010

Despite increased awareness and interest in green living and climate change, the job of the green marketer has not been made easier. Corporate ethics is now a major field of study and an important focus area for many companies. This increased level of competition makes acquiring the consumer's attention more difficult. Moreover, consumers interested in making ethical purchasing decisions are now less willing to sacrifice convenience for green products, pay a premium for them, or research confusing and conflicting claims on their own.

This report aims to help green marketers cut through the clutter, and consumer fatigue and skepticism, to make clear cases for consumers in an increasingly green-oriented world. The report incorporates of both a custom quantitative and qualitative survey, alongside expert coverage of the direction of consumer sentiment. Insight into the green consumer’s mind and broad trends is provided along with the following subjects:

  • How the recession and government action have altered the playing field for green marketing
  • Which green subjects are getting the most attention from companies and from consumers
  • How people of different ages, races, incomes and education think differently about corporate responsibility
  • Which marketing strategies are most likely to win over or alienate the most committed green shoppers
  • How companies can maintain good green reputations and overcome bad ones

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Advertising creative
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                    • Impact of recession on green brands more limited than expected
                      • A more watchful FTC should decrease greenwashing, build trust
                        • Delayed government action on climate good for green marketers
                          • Green reputation influenced by both marketing and performance
                            • Ethical shopping on the rise
                              • All aspects of corporate behavior important to green and ethical consumers
                                • Under-35s more willing to sacrifice
                                  • Consumers more likely to punish “bad” companies than reward green ones
                                    • Less willingness to punish “bad” companies or sacrifice for good ones
                                      • Best practice: PR ahead of advertising
                                        • Consumers want companies to be green in all areas
                                          • Hispanics vie with Asians for title of greenest group
                                            • Environmental justice and climate change important to black respondents
                                            • Insights and Opportunities

                                              • Water is the new energy
                                                • Standardizing the standards
                                                  • Joining forces with other green companies
                                                    • On the heels of giants: Following Walmart into a greener supply chain
                                                      • Talking to the college crowd; avoiding premiums
                                                        • Design campaigns with skeptics in mind: put verification first
                                                          • Pull instead of push: Social media to target Super Greens and True Greens
                                                            • Best practices: Splurge on POP
                                                            • Inspire Insights

                                                                • Simplicity and Convenience
                                                                  • What it’s about
                                                                    • What we’ve seen
                                                                      • How it relates to green marketing
                                                                        • Figure 1: Sources of information about corporate environmental behavior, December 2007 vs. January 2010
                                                                      • New onsumer
                                                                        • What's it about?
                                                                          • How it relates to green marketing
                                                                          • Competitive Context

                                                                            • Green concerns via other consumer concerns
                                                                                • Figure 2: Importance of different aspects of ethical corporate behavior, December 2007
                                                                              • Green + other values
                                                                                • Figure 3: Incidence of other marketing claims on products claiming to be environmentally friendly, 2007-09
                                                                              • Punishing business as usual
                                                                              • Trends in Green Business Practices

                                                                                • Greening the supply chain
                                                                                  • Rise of lifecycle analysis
                                                                                    • Walmart still leads in supply chain accountability
                                                                                      • Brands held accountable for suppliers’ behavior
                                                                                        • Metrics and standards
                                                                                          • Measuring the shrinking carbon footprint
                                                                                            • Joining forces with other green companies
                                                                                              • Water is the new energy
                                                                                              • Brands Seen As Green

                                                                                                • Consumers identify green brands from a wide range of industries
                                                                                                  • Figure 4: Top green brands, January 2010
                                                                                                • SC Johnson often confused with Johnson & Johnson
                                                                                                  • Green consumers more aware of brands’ environmental credentials
                                                                                                    • Mainstream consumers favor familiar brands
                                                                                                      • Figure 5: Top green brands with rankings from other consumer perception studies, July 2008-November 2009
                                                                                                    • Data sources for consumer perception information
                                                                                                      • Green advertising shapes perceptions for some consumers
                                                                                                      • Case Studies: Leaders in Green Reputation

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Toyota
                                                                                                            • Figure 6: Toyota “It has earned the love of millions” ad, 2010
                                                                                                          • Honda
                                                                                                            • Figure 7: Honda “America’s greenest automaker” ad, 2009
                                                                                                          • General Electric
                                                                                                              • Figure 8: GE “Scarecrow dances at power plant” ad, 2009
                                                                                                          • Case Studies: Mixed Message Brands

                                                                                                            • Introduction
                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Walmart
                                                                                                                  • Procter & Gamble
                                                                                                                    • Clorox
                                                                                                                      • General Motors
                                                                                                                      • Case Studies: Stealth Green Brands

                                                                                                                        • Introduction
                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Unilever
                                                                                                                              • Nike
                                                                                                                                • Groupe Danone/Stonyfield Farm
                                                                                                                                • Case Studies: Halo Effect Brands

                                                                                                                                  • Introduction
                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Apple
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 9: Apple MacBook Pro “Longer lasting batteries mean less in landfills” ad, 2009
                                                                                                                                        • Johnson & Johnson
                                                                                                                                          • General Mills
                                                                                                                                            • Whole Foods
                                                                                                                                            • Which Brands Are Seen As Bad?

                                                                                                                                              • Recall for green brands better than for “bad” brands
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 10: Brands seen as least green, January 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Consumers judge industries as a whole
                                                                                                                                              • Case Studies: Brands with Baggage

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Exxon-Mobil: Defiantly pro-oil
                                                                                                                                                    • BP: Oil company? Who, us?
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 11: BP “People talk about the need for energy diversity” ad, 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                                                                                                                    • Recession and Fatigue
                                                                                                                                                      • Less willingness to punish “bad” companies
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 12: Influence of negative corporate behavior on shopping decisions, October 2008 vs. January 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Fewer willing to make sacrifices to reward ethical brands
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 13: Influence of positive corporate behavior on shopping decisions, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Willingness to pay for premiums in decline
                                                                                                                                                        • Confusion remains a barrier to ethical shopping
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 14: Reasons that corporate behavior does not impact shopping decisions, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                        • Government regulation of green marketing positive for consumer respect for claims
                                                                                                                                                          • Government inaction positive for green marketers
                                                                                                                                                          • The Green Consumer

                                                                                                                                                              • Shades of green
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 15: Change in frequency of green consumer population, August 2006-January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                • The impact of children in the household reverses since 2008
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 16: Frequency of buying green products, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Reasons for buying or not buying green
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 17: Attitudes towards effectiveness of green products, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 18: Consumer experience with the availability of green products, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 19: Attitudes towards health benefits of green products, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                                • Attitudes Towards Corporate Responsibility

                                                                                                                                                                  • Ethical shopping on the rise
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Influence of corporate behavior on shopping decisions, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Seniors lead in keeping companies accountable
                                                                                                                                                                    • Relationship with age intricate: standard green vs. premium green
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 21: Environmental attitudes and behaviors, by age, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 22: Influence of corporate behavior on shopping decisions, by age, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Reward and Punishment

                                                                                                                                                                    • Under-35s most willing to sacrifice to reward corporate ethics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 23: Influence of positive corporate behavior on shopping decisions, by age, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Bad corporate behavior more likely to inspire consumer action
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 24: Influence of negative corporate behavior on shopping decisions, by age, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Deciding Which Brands are Green

                                                                                                                                                                    • Best practice: PR ahead of advertising
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Sources of information about corporate environmental behavior, December 2007 vs. January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Age-related media divide governs the way people learn about green issues
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Sources of information about corporate environmental behavior, by age, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Limits to knowledge: Majority can’t name environmental heroes or villains
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Recall of specific corporate behavior, by education level, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Higher income groups feel more informed about corporate behavior
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Familiarity with positive/negative corporate behavior of specific firms, by household income, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Which Green Practices Matter Most

                                                                                                                                                                    • Limiting pollution and toxic chemicals chief concerns
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Importance of specific corporate environmental practices to consumers, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Differences by gender
                                                                                                                                                                      • Green advocacy as important as green initiatives
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: What does it mean for a financial services company to be “green,” by gender, January 2009*
                                                                                                                                                                      • Unprompted responses shed light on green consumers’ thinking
                                                                                                                                                                        • Top characteristics of green brands
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Top 10 reasons given for naming a brand as environmentally friendly, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                          • Top characteristics of “bad” brands
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Top 10 reasons why a brand was named as bad for the environment, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes Towards Green Advertising

                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumers listening, but skeptical
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 33: Attitudes towards green advertising, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                            • Super Greens and True Greens strong advocates for sustainable brands
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 34: Attitudes towards green advertising, by type of green consumer, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                            • Young people most receptive to green advertising
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 35: Attitudes towards green advertising, by age, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                          • Race and Ethnicity

                                                                                                                                                                            • Hispanics vie with Asians for title of greenest group
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Frequency of buying green products, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                            • Minorities more concerned about climate change
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 37: Concern about climate change, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                            • Whites and Asians place more focus on corporate responsibility
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Concern about corporate ethics and pollution, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                                                            • People vs. planet: Differences by language among Hispanics
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Concern about corporate ethics and pollution among Hispanics, by language spoken, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                                                            • Environmental justice and climate change important for black respondents
                                                                                                                                                                              • Hispanics view donations more favorably
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Importance of specific corporate environmental practices, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Hispanics lead in boycotting bad brands
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Influence of irresponsible corporate behavior on shopping, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Hispanics ripe for green advertising
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Attitudes towards green advertising, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                            • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                                • Ethicists
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunities
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Considerates
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Indifferents
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Green marketing clusters, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 44: Green shopping status, by green marketing clusters, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Attitudes towards green marketing, by green marketing clusters, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Rewarding corporate environmental stewardship, by green marketing clusters, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 47: Punishing poor corporate environmental behavior, by green marketing clusters, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Attitudes towards green advertising, by green marketing clusters, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Efforts to assess “greenness” of corporations, by green marketing clusters, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Top environmental concerns, by green marketing clusters, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Green marketing clusters, by gender, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Green marketing clusters, by age, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Green marketing clusters, by household income, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Green marketing clusters, by race, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Green marketing clusters, by Hispanic origin, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Focus on College Grads

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Education a key determinant of green attitudes
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Environmental attitudes, by education level, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • College grads more likely to “vote with their dollars”
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 57: Influence of corporate behavior on shopping decisions, by education level, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • College grads most committed to rewarding ethical brands
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 58: Influence of positive corporate behavior on shopping decisions, by education level, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • College grads best able to recall corporate heroes and villains
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 59: Recall of specific corporate behavior, by education level, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • College grads skeptical of green ads
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 60: Attitudes toward green advertising, by education level, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix: Recall of Green Brands

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 61: Brands recalled at least twice as being environmentally friendly, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix: Recall of Green-Unfriendly Brands

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 62: Brands recalled at least twice as being environmentally unfriendly, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Apple, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Archer Daniels Midland
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • AT&T Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Bank of America Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • BP p.l.c.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Burt's Bees Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Canon (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Cargill Incorporated
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • ChevronTexaco Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • ChevronTexaco Corporation (US retail)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Chrysler LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Clorox Company , The
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Coca-Cola Company (The) (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Colgate-Palmolive Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Consumer Electronics Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • CVS Caremark Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Dell Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • DS Waters of America LP
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Eastman Kodak Company (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Exxon Mobil Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Federal Trade Commission
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ford Motor Company (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Forest Stewardship Council
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • General Electric Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • General Mills Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • General Motors Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Greenpeace International
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Groupe Danone
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Hewlett-Packard Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Hyundai Motor America
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • IBM USA (International Business Machines)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Johnson & Johnson
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Kashi Co. Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Kellogg Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Kimberly-Clark Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • L'Oréal USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Levi Strauss
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • LG Electronics Inc (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Lowe Worldwide
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Marine Stewardship Council
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • McDonald's U.S.A.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • McKee Foods Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Melaleuca Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Method Products, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Microsoft USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Monsanto Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Nature Valley
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Nestlé USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Newman's Own Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Nike
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Nokia Corporation (US)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Pepsi-Cola North America
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Procter & Gamble Company (The)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Procter & Gamble USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Publix Super Markets
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Seventh Generation Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Shell Oil Products US
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Small Planet Foods Inc. (Cascadian Farms)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sony Corporation of America
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Starbucks Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Stonyfield Farm
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Subaru of America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sunoco, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sustainable Building Industry Council (SBIC)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Target Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Tesco (US)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • The New York Times Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Tom's of Maine
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Toshiba Corporation (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Toyota Motor Corporation USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Trader Joe's Company Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Tyson Foods Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Department of Agriculture
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Department of Transportation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Unilever USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Verizon Communications Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Whirlpool Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Whole Foods Market Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Wild Oats Markets, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Green Marketing - US - April 2010

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