The green revolution has seen more people globally buying organic food, choosing hybrid cars, and making an effort to recycle. But is it just a fad, or are people changing their behaviour for good? Research from Kantar Media’s Global TGI shows that while people still care about the environment, the recession has forced them to compromise their ‘green’ consumption habits.

More than half of the population in all but one of the countries surveyed agree that people have a duty to recycle. The figure is highest in Brazil at 86% – where the government recently stepped up environmental awareness initiatives – followed by Germany (72%) and Great Britain (70%). People in Saudi Arabia, India and South Africa are least concerned with the need to recycle.

Since green issues became a hot topic, brand owners have promoted ‘environmentally friendly’ attributes to boost sales. While the number of people willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products increased in key European markets between 2005 and 2008, it has decreased dramatically since the recession started to bite – with the biggest fall in France from 56% to 30% between 2008 and 2012.

This corresponds with an increase in price-consciousness in these markets: the number of people who say they spend their money more carefully than they used to increased between 2005 and 2012, most notably in Spain (from 58% to 65%) and Great Britain (62% to 71%).

“The way people view and respond to environmental issues changes in line with their personal circumstances, and as their financial situation improves they may be more willing to pay more for ‘green’ products again,” explains Tracy Allnutt, Head of Commercial Development Global TGI at Kantar Media. “Our research gives brand owners fast understanding of what drives people’s opinions over time, so they can align their marketing messages with important trends.”

This Factoid is one of a series produced by Kantar Media’s Global TGI, designed to provide bite-sized pieced of information on topical issues for brand managers in between the more in-depth Dispatches reports undertaken by the company.


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