According to J.D. Power and Associates’ 2008 Environmental Sustainability Report, four brands—Toyota, General Motors, Honda, and Whole Foods—have received the most positive attention in the blogosphere regarding eco-sustainability.
The report analyzed 40 million blog posts in the past six months in six major industries—automotive, retail, oil and gas, food and beverage, household products, and utilities. It is one of the first reports to consider consumer conversations in the blogosphere about sustainability, global warming, and purchase trends, and to categorize brands within these fields according to the amount of positive press they get from bloggers.
The best news to come from this study is that consumers appear to be displaying an unprecedented concern about environmental sustainability and are increasingly holding companies responsible for not offering eco-friendly products. And importantly, for the major brands, when consumers are uncomfortable with how to react on a personal level to sustainability, they look to the major brands to offer information, direction, and leadership.
According to Janet Eden-Harris, VP of the Web Intelligence Division at J.D. Power, “As more companies launch ‘green’ initiatives, consumers are becoming more skeptical and confused as to what’s real, what’s not, and where they should focus their energy.”
Consumers have cited habit, convenience, price, and perceived loss of functionality as hindrances to living and consuming more sustainably, but with the guidance of major brands, consumers are now more willing to pay the price than ever before.
According to the study, 62% of bloggers are now discussing action pertaining to environmental problems, a discernible shift from 18 months ago, “when many were debating whether or not some of these environmental issues even existed,” according to the study.
Clearly, brands that provide comprehensible demonstrations of how their products or services are “green-friendly” and how their customers can differentiate between “green” and “not-so-green” will both benefit their bottom line and help consumer culture take a sustainable leap forward.