Last Friday we celebrated the 41st Earth Day, this year’s theme being A Billion Acts of Green. My query this morning: Why am I beginning to read articles that America’s love affair with “green” products has declined?
An online Harris Poll (2,352 U.S. adults ages 18 and over) revealed that in 2010, 36% of the respondents were concerned about the planet they were leaving behind for future generations compared to 43% in 2009. When asked whether environmental issues were important when voting for political candidates, 28% said it was important down from 36% in 2009. Detailed below are other interesting results as it relates to the decline of “green” behavior in 2010 compared to 2009:
- Purchasing locally grown produce (33% vs. 39%).
- Purchasing organic products (15% vs. 17%) Note: On the other hand, while researching this post, I learned the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) reported sales of organic products reached $28.6 billion, an increase of approximately 8 percent versus 2009. Organic fruits and vegetables which represent 39.7 percent ($10.6 billion) of total organic sales exhibited the greatest growth – plus 11.8 percent. Makes me question whether those people who already buy organics are now buying more.
- Making an effort to use less water (57% vs. 60%).
- Purchased a hybrid or more fuel efficient car (8% vs. 13%).
- Purchased Energy Star appliances (30% vs. 36%).
Has the recession impacted “green” consumerism as Americans look to cut spending? One category that has exhibited a major decline has been household products like cleaning supplies, especially those marketed by the major companies like Clorox and S.C. Johnson compared to niche players Method and Seventh Generation. Mintel a research firm reported that the number of household cleaners with “green” claims declined from 144 in 2009 to 105 in 2010; “green” dishwashing liquids from 85 to 58. One particular environment-friendly line of cleaning products that has exemplified the decline in “green” products was Clorox’s Sierra Club endorsed Green Works – sales peaked in 2008 at $100 million and has now leveled off to $60 million.
Is it too premature to jump to any conclusions? The Green Conundrum! The same Harris Poll indicated that 20% of those surveyed consider themselves conservationist (compared to 17% in 2009), 18% “green” (compared to 13% in 2009) and 16% environmentalist (compared to 13% in 2009). So have Americans become unpredictable when it comes to buying “green” products?
Stay tuned as my next post addresses how Fido is going green.