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Consumers Want to Buy Eco-Friendly Products, but Don’t Know How to Identify Them

Pretty young mom holding lovely little daughter choosing Japanese sushi sets together at open display refrigerator in supermarket joyfully.

Americans are seeking out and are willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly products, according to a new study from GreenPrint, an environmental technology company.

The first-ever edition of the company’s Business of Sustainability Index found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans are willing to pay more for sustainable products, but most (74%) don’t know how to identify them. According to the findings, 78% of people are more likely to purchase a product that is clearly labeled as environmentally friendly.

The study also found a large degree of mistrust about companies’ environmental claims. Many people have doubts when companies say they are environmentally friendly, with 53% of Americans never or only sometimes believing such claims. To trust a company statement, 45% of Americans say they need a third-party validating source.

“Businesses are in a bind. Broadcasting sustainability would capture an untapped consumer base but also sow distrust,” said Pete Davis, CEO, and Co-Founder of GreenPrint. “We’d suggest they follow the data. Third-party validation helps certify progress in consumers’ eyes, and the process of carbon offsetting – which is easy to measure and communicate – helps create tangible benchmarks. Both are good tools for building trust. It’s about exploring your trustworthy methods of communication, then selecting one that aligns with your objectives.”

Other key findings of GreenPrint’s Business of Sustainability Index include:

  • 75% of Millennials are willing to pay more for an environmentally sustainable product, compared to 63% of Gen Z, 64% of Gen X, and 57% of Boomers.
  • 77% of Americans are concerned about the environmental impact of products they buy.
  • More than half (56%) of Americans would use a credit card that could calculate and offset the environmental footprint of products purchased.
  • There’s a noticeable break between generations, with 71% and 66% of Millennials and Gen Z willing to do so, compared to only 50% Gen X, 46% of Boomers, and 39% Silent Generation.
  • 76% of Americans would switch their preferred packaged goods brand if they were offsetting carbon emissions. 74% would switch gasoline brands in the same situation.
  • Comparing sectors, 78% of respondents said food/groceries are doing well in demonstrating their commitment to environmental friendliness. Tech is close behind at 74%, while gas stations and convenience stores rank lower at 51% and 54%, respectively.

This index and its future editions will track sentiment around sustainability in the economy – how climate consciousness impacts consumer preference and perceptions of companies and their products and the overall effectiveness of the sustainability benchmarking ecosystem across various sectors and demographics.

Davis said of the survey: “Companies must build trust and loyalty by clearly demonstrating that they share environmental goals with their customers. Defending and preserving our planet is not only the right thing to do, it’s good business. Companies that can navigate the business of sustainability will be best positioned for future success.”

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