Global Consumer Beliefs about Green

HSBC has launched an unbranded site yourpointofview.com as part of its push to be viewed as “the world’s local bank”. The site collects consumer research on a variety of global issues ranging from shopping malls to old age, and in the process, offers a rare glimpse into global consumer attitudes and beliefs. Results are insightful for all marketers – as changing consumer behavior often requires first changing belief systems – and encouraging for green marketers. Here are just a few issues addressed:

Windfarms
42% of respondents said that windfarms were necessary, with UK and Australia having the highest proportion (47%), followed by Brazil (45%) and the US (44%). Interestingly, 18% said that they were beautiful, versus only 1% that said they were an eyesore. With “not-in-my-backyard” battles raging on Cape Cod and other areas in the US, these percentages should give encouragement to green marketers that there is at least a growing public acknowledgement (if not yet a core belief) that alternative energy will be apart of our landscape, and perhaps, an aesthetically-pleasing one at that.

Gorillas
40% of respondents said that gorillas were endangered, with a high of 67% in Malaysia. Interestingly, 37% of respondents said that gorillas were a friend of or similar to humans vs. 12% that said they were wild, different, dangerous or a foe. While recognition that gorillas are endangered or a friend does not make people conservationist, this does suggest that there is a significant percentage of consumers that have a core belief (gorilla = friend = endangered) which marketers can use to translate into conservationist behavior.

Bottled Water
Bottle water is a beverage that promises benefits of purity (and sometimes taste and convenience) that tap water does not. While 27% of respondents said that bottled water was handy, interestingly, 20% each believed it a con or at least expensive.

There is little “green” to truly market about bottled water (given the environmental impact of transporting water long distances, disposal of plastic bottles and uncertain claims of purity versus tap water, etc). As such, it is interesting to observe respondents with a healthy dose of skepticism for the product.

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