We are bombarded by images of rising seas and admonitions to be green, yet a recent study showed that only 57% of Americans believe in climate change. Without any context, it's impossible to figure out why. The Green Confidence Index, launched this week by Greenbiz, aims to fill in the blanks with a monthly report on consumers' green attitudes and purchasing habits.
The survey, which polls over 2,500 adults in the U.S., tracks responses about purchasing (past and future green purchases), information (whether respondents feel they know enough about green issues and solutions to make responsible choices), and responsibility (how the government, corporations, employers, and friends address environmental issues).
According to the Green Confidence inaugural issue, green purchasing is holding steady, with half of all U.S. adults claiming to have purchased a green product in the past year. At the same time, poll respondents believe more information is available about green vehicles and household appliances than any other categories—not surprising since news about plug-in vehicles and smart grid-aware appliances has dominated the headlines. Half of respondents believe they are personally doing enough for the environment, but only 22.7% of Americans think major companies are doing their share. That means corporate greenwashing is backfiring, and maybe even overshadowing real efforts.
Still, companies shouldn't stop trying—three in five consumers who haven't purchased anything green are considering doing so in the coming year. Will they follow through? We'll find out soon enough in future issues of the Green Confidence Index.