Did you know that 56% of consumers don't believe that the companies they purchase from will tell the truth about their green products? As consumers become more educated and focused on environmental concerns, they are becoming increasingly skeptical of suppliers' green messaging. For the past 4 years, Cone Communications Inc. has performed market research on the growing green trends of the marketplace and published the Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker report.
23% say that vague environmental claims should never be used - 79% want detailed information readily accessible on the product packaging. The focus of the 2011 Green Trend Tracker was on consumers' increasing demand for clarity in environmental claims. The push for clarity in the green product marketplace has been growing and has been identified as an advantage in gaining market share. As a result of unclear green marketing claims, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is creating a firmer version of the Green Guides designed to regulate green advertising and crack down on vague environmental messaging.
What are the consequences of misleading claims? In 2012, 77% of consumers said they would stop buying the company's product if they felt misled - a rise from 71% in 2011. Consumers don't like being duped, and they are willing to take a stand against deceptive organizations. Other possible repercussions of unsubstantiated or false claims can be formal action from the FTC. Having environmental claims validated and certified by a third-party ensures compliance with the changing FTC Green Guides and protects against lost sales attributed to product abandonment.
What is the most trusted way to demonstrate a product's environmental attributes? Consumers are more likely to believe a third-party certification than any other form of environmental messaging that was tested. When asked to "purchase" a green product based on the perceived level of environmental responsibility, 51% of consumers are likely to buy a product with a certification; only 30% were responsive to environmental claims; and a mere 19% responded to an environmental image.
Since 2009, GreenCircle Certified has been providing forward-thinking companies with a competitive advantage - specific, third-party verified environmental claims. As the Green Gap Trend Tracker reports have confirmed, having a third party certify your environmental product claims creates value and warrants consumer trust. Consumers are evolving, and so is the demand for green products. The shift from vague environmental messaging to specific, verified information has presented an opportunity for companies to meet customer demand and differentiate their products from competitors'.
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