By James Russo, SVP Global Consumer Insights, Nielsen
April 22 as a date on the calendar might not immediately resonate with consumers, but the cause behind the date does. Earth Day, the ultimate symbol of the environmental movement, has been around since 1970, and concern about the health of the planet among consumers has never been higher. According to a recent Nielsen survey of more than 1,200 U.S. consumers, nearly 40 percent said they’re “very concerned” about the environment and 60 percent said they’re “strongly concerned.”
For many consumers, Earth Day is every day. That means recycling, thinking about automobile emissions, and taking other steps to preserve the planet. With that train of thought, many say simply recognizing one day out of the year isn’t enough. In fact, more than one-third said marking the actual day on the calendar isn’t as important as actually taking action.
Nearly 80 percent of consumers said they recycled paper, plastic or other material at home during a recent 30-day period. Fifty-seven percent said they intentionally purchased locally produced food, and 33 percent said they purchased a specific product because it had less of an impact on the environment than a similar product.
In the past year, nearly half of the consumers surveyed made changes to their residence that made it more energy efficient.
In a challenging economic climate, where consumers continue to redefine value, environmental concerns are increasingly becoming a factor in purchase decisions.
Nearly 27 percent of consumers said they go to a particular retailer because the company is perceived as environmentally responsible. Even more shoppers—34 percent—choose a certain product because the manufacturer is perceived as environmentally responsible. With this backdrop, it’s not enough to simply offer an environmentally friendly solution. The objective is to engage these millions of consumers who are taking an increasingly active role in environmental concerns that permeate their lives.