MONTEREY, Calif. — Burt’s Bees finished first in a list of 10 U.S. brands deemed by consumers as the "greenest" as part of the 2010 ImagePower Green Brands Survey.
The fifth annual survey, conducted by Cohn & Wolfe, Landor Associates, Penn Schoen Berland and Esty Environmental Partners, polled more than 9,000 people in eight countries to identify emerging trends related to consumer perception and purchasing behavior of environmentally friendly, or "green," products.
The top 10 U.S. brands perceived to be the greenest in this year’s study were Burt’s Bees at No. 1 and Whole Foods Market at No. 2. Following them, in order, were Tom’s of Maine, Trader Joe’s, Google, Aveeno, S.C. Johnson, Publix, Microsoft and Ikea. Aveeno and Microsoft made their debut on the list this year.
According to the 2010 Green Brands Survey, more than 60% of respondents in all countries want to buy from environmentally responsible companies. In developed countries, the cost of green products remains a hurdle, while in emerging nations selection and labeling are the biggest challenges.
More than two-thirds of respondents in each country polled cited reducing toxics and dangerous substances as the most important activity that a company can do to be green, followed by water conservation or recycling. Consumers said that environmental consciousness also is an important corporate priority, ranking in importance behind "good value," "trustworthy" and "caring about customers."
"For the last few years, we’ve seen interest in green brands increase in every country surveyed. Being seen as environmentally conscious continues to be an important brand attribute with all consumers," commented Russ Meyer, chief strategy officer at Landor Associates. "Although still a differentiator in many categories, brand managers must remember that being seen as green is becoming a fundamental attribute for all brands."
In the United States, energy use is considered the biggest green issue or problem today. The data also show that economic concerns continue to take precedence over environmental ones, with 79% of those polled expressing greater distress about the economy. Yet 35% of consumers said they will spend more on green products in the coming year, with that percentage down slightly from last year.
"In the United States, 75% of consumers say that it is somewhat or very important to them that the brands they buy come from green companies, although more people said that this was ‘very important’ in 2009," stated Scott Siff, executive vice president of Penn Schoen Berland. "While the economy has driven down the priority of green for consumers, we can expect that as the recovery continues, the importance of green will come roaring back."
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