Environmental Marketing to Shift From Global Warming Emphasis

Consumers are still concerned about global warming but there are other environmental issues that they see as more pressing. And their willingness to pay extra for products promoted as green has dropped. They leaves marketers with the challenge of how to show off their green side without losing money in the process.

The number of U.S. consumers concerned about global warming has dropped from 62% to 48% in the past 3 years. Consumers say that we have more pressing problems to worry about (51%) and that global warming may be a normal variation (62%). However, on a global basis, consumers indicate they have an environmental conscience and say they are very concerned about factors such as:

  • Air pollution 39%
  • Water pollution 43%
  • Water shortages 39%
  • Pesticide use 33%
  • Packaging waste 32%

Prior to the start of the recession, marketers had been heavily promoting green products that typically came with a higher price. Only about 22% of consumers are generally willing to pay more for eco-​friendly products according to Nielsen. At the same time, shoppers want to know that a marketer or producer has an environmental program in place.

In addition, a significant number of U.S. consumers, 65%, believe shopping local has a positive effect on the environment. Beyond that, Nielsen analysts say, consumers can easily detect “green-​washing” or marketer attempts to make a product look sustainable. Analysts caution that marketing along these lines is “not enough to move product.” If a marketer intends to charge more for a ‘green’ product, then this product must “perform better than the competitors.”

As consumer sentiment changes about the environment, marketers will need to shift their promotion efforts in this area.

[Source: Sustainable Efforts & Environmental Concerns. Nielsen​.com. August 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.