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“Green” products on the outs with cash-strapped Americans

“Green” products on the outs with cash-strapped Americans

A study released today by GfK Research revealed sizable reductions in American consumers’ willingness to pay a premium for so-called “green,” or environmentally friendly products. The study was conducted as part of the research company’s “Green Gauge Report,” which measures consumer attitudes toward environmental issues.

According to study director Timothy Kenyon, “green awareness is indeed pervasive – but consumers can perceive ‘green’ claims as a negative in some contexts…For example, while terms like organic and recyclable have strong positive resonance, they are often associated with higher prices.”

The study found that one of the biggest drops in willingness-to-pay was for cars the pollute less; between 2008 and 2012, consumers dropped 13 percentage points to 49%. AdvertisingAge put together an infographic that captures some of the key data points the Green Gauge report found:

Diane Crispell, also of GfK, was quoted in AdvertisingAge with a different take. She said that because marketers had overpromised the benefits of green products, there is now a “kind of heightened distrust” of these brand claims.

These could be ominous indicators for companies that have been scurrying to ramp up investment in green products, line extensions, and advertising. Even business schools hurtled after the “green” trend. (My MBA alma mater, Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, has staked its reputation on building-out their “Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise,” MBA-speak for “green” business studies.)

Time for marketers to reevaluate whether they have been doing a little bit too much preaching and not enough listening to their consumers. When the economy’s struggling, asking consumers to pay more for items like biodegradable plastic packaging may just be insupportable.


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And when Republicans fix the economy, these numbers will go back up, and the liberal argument will sound appealing again to the median voter.

Markets work. Every time you let them.

Central planned economies NEVER work.

    counsel4pay in reply to Ragspierre. | September 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Superb insight. THIS ECONOMIC TRUTH WILL NOT BE IGNORED BY TWO GUYS (Romney & Ryan) who have WORKPLACE EXPERIENCE and demand cost-effective and fiscally sound policies.

    Romney DOES NOT WANT YOUR MONEY–he’s been giving it away faster than several thousand Americans are making it.

    HE WANTS YOU TO HAVE MORE OF YOUR MONEY — All the government can do is get money from you.

    He didn’t get any Olympics Salary (and he gave $1,000,000 to the games); he got $1/year as governor and paid all of his expenses; his “alms” are generous, freely given, and as much as possible, “under the radar”–I have never, ever seen any pictures of him in front of some Mormon Chuch with one of those ginormous cardboard checks holding a press conference to announce his donations!

    Mitt Romney has expressed his primary purposes eloquently: To improve your welfare and that of your family.

      Ragspierre in reply to counsel4pay. | September 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      In several happy ways…big and small…Romney has surprised me.

      But the days of me trusting any office holder are LONGGGGG dead, and I WILL vigorously shepherd EVERY one of them in the direction of limited government and market economics.

Social engineers hardest hit, ask themselves — can we engineer the end of the marketplace?

Purely anecdotal: I was getting the oil changed in my daughter’s car at one of the drive-through oil change places. They had 2 grades of “ordinary” oil: regular and recycled. The recycled was $5 more than the regular. I went for the less expensive alternative…

In recent years “green” and “sustainability” have become two of my least favorite words.

Anne-the Cornell push comes from the presence there of Stuart L Hart. His book, Capitalism at the Crossroads, is a classic Corporatist/Govt Alliance around redesigning and planning an economy for the politically connected. I read it when I was writing this post

    Thanks for the link. Scary stuff that traces back to Scientific American. Wiki says that “Wall Street Journal online columnist James Taranto jokingly called Scientific American ‘a liberal political magazine.'” But we know Taranto never jokes.

    WUWT comments associate SA to Fenton Communications which provides a further link to George Soros funding.

ALL THIS “GREEN ENTHUSIASM” IS JUST MORE “REAPPORTIONMENT” BY OBAMA–But not from the rich to the poor, but FROM EVERYONE TO HIS RICH SUPPORTERS. [Plus, the amount of funds just “missing” is enough to…finance another country!]


The sun was shining on the land,
Shining, oh, so bright.
It did the very best it could,
To make electricity from light,
Which was a most ambitious thing—
That they HAVEN’T YET got right*.

The wind was blowing through the land,
Blowing, swift and free,
It did the very best it could,
To make electricity for free,
Alas, alack, it didn’t work,
It cost too much, you see!

The Chevy Volt limped down the street,
Powered from the “wire”,
It did the very best it could,
To send “THE WON’S” stock higher,
He promised us a million sold–
But, again, he’s just a liar.

The oil and gas flow sluggishly,
Our sources hampered at every turn,
And so the poor spend more each day,
For the fuel that they must burn,
To heat their homes; propel their cars,

These all are but examples,
Of a problem none too rare,
It comes from the crime of “Green Graft”,
It wastes fortunes we can’t spare.
Then the Dem-Rats DO NOT CARE!

Their crimes are, oh so simple,
Conceived in insanity—
Mere concepts without a proven worth,
But for “eco-vanity”.
Spend grants, spend loans, spend guarantees,

The money flows throughout the land,
(But it is NEVER FREE),
So soon come secret “cover ups”,
And bribes we cannot see.
FORTUNES spent so wastefully.

* Small scale success with home energy solar power or wind, etc. may be practical for some. SOLYNDRA STYLE MEGA-PROJECTS ARE NOT–not a single one of them. See,

WHEN OUR WARSHIPS LAUNCH INTO “HARM’S WAY” WITH $26/gallon “green bio fuel” rather than the typical and far less expensive $3.60/gallon conventional product, then we have to recall the words of that old 007 movie:

“Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”

AMERICANS ARE “GETTING IT”–Enemy action from the Chicago Gang now perverting, even betraying, our country.

NC Mountain Girl | September 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

It’s all of the above plus some. They over promised the benefits, the prices are way too high and the fashion craze wore off. The same has happened with the related concept of “local food”. When the local super Wal-mart has bins of locally grown produce near the entrance its stops being trendy for the conspicuous consumption set.

The concept of green products is, and always was, a marketing gimmick – but never a benefit to consumers or the ecology. The made-up pseudo-science that trumpets the dangers of global warming/CO2 and the benefits of recycling to forestall shortages and save our environment comes from the Marxist movement that emanated from the destruction of the CPUSA. Communists do not disappear, they simply find a new identity.

The trillions upon trillions of dollars that could be saved simply by doing in the EPA is unimaginable.

9thDistrictNeighbor | September 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I will vote for whomever will reinstate the US-made incandescent light bulb. My stash won’t last long enough given how poorly bulbs from China and Mexico perform.

“Green” is a racket. Tilting at windmills–literally.

“Green” is just a euphemism for “doesn’t work.”

As an upholsterer , I attempt to use it as a recycling hook in estiments to libs. Its never worked. I now continue to do for amusement purposes. It does help with older customers who appreciate quality and long term value. Most libs exude sanctimony. Recently I refused to give a bid to a school and told them to their face why. I did do a job for a clinic in the mtns. I was blunt with them , they appreciated it & we got on fine. I suspect they were not libs. I discourage govt bids. Though there is money in them , they’re not worth the grief.

Attention Progressive busybody lurking LI: Get off my back. Stop wasting my time. Try things out yourself on your own dime for a long time with good result before opening your pie hole to me.

All the results are in (see the list below) and none of your plans, theories, intentions are good, farsighted, efficient, economical or “smart.”

None of them, not solar, not wind, not waves, not global warming, not global cooling, not biomass, not free love, not cloning, not embryonic stem cells, not alternative lifestyles, not eugenics, not euthanasia, not Marx, not Kinsey, not Sanger, not Freud, not Darwin, not bicycles, not high speed rail, not cloth shopping bags, not hemp, not pacifism.

Thanks, Professor.

My city started recycling this year. They gave us a new 96 gallon garbage can to put recyclable objects in and will not charge for this service. Unfortunately, they decided to charge for regular garbage. I don’t mind this recycling since it makes my garbage can less full. Otherwise I would need two garbage cans and have to pay for them both.

That is the only thing i am in favor of in the “green” movement. I don’t buy organic foods because I don’t like the idea of food raised in sh*t. E coli or other deadly bacteria comes to mind.

    Congratulations! You are now an official government suck-up. There is nothing unique about recycling. It has been happening since the beginnings of civilization. What we now must abide is the recycling of materials without value by government-contracted trash haulers.

    Here is the secret they didn’t tell you. Trash has, for years, has been sorted for valuable materials by the collectors. Now you are paying extra for the privilege of presorting it for them.

    You might want to read: “Recycling is Garbage” by John Tierney.

I’ll never forget about ten years ago when I left my apartment to get some damned Heinz Ketchup for hamburgers and realized that all the stores in my neighborhood had were varieties of organic salt-free smug small company tomato vomit. I was like what the hell? Is everyone in my neighborhood really this stupid and evil that the fact that Heinz Ketchup is one of the greatest creations in the history of mankind is trumped by the fact that its mass-produced by an evil conglomerate that employs modern agricultural methods?

I am sick to death of everything ‘green.’

It’s reached the point of absurdity when a favorite decorating/house magazine, in a story about a kitchen remodel, actually opined that using ‘local’ marble for the island, as opposed to the imported stuff on the rest of the counters, was ‘green.’

No. GREEN would have been making do with what you had. Or maybe pouring your own concrete countertops. At least the way it was back in the 70s when we really WERE into reduce, reuse, recycle, for all the right reasons, BEFORE the monstrosity that is Al Gore and the militant activists/totalitarian freaks destroyed it all.

(And, btw, tip to magazines, Architectural Digest and the like – do you not realize you are swooning over the very people who want to kill everything you do, are and stand for? Rich people? Mansions? Property? Freedom to choose? What the hell is wrong with people?)

If it is my choice,
I am happy go buy “Green”.
But not if I’m forced…

Americans have had long, bitter experience with the government forcing them to do what is “good for them”. Time and time again, the choices forced on us have been boondoggles and scams.

It is good to see that the majority of Americans will still “spit out the bit”…