The untapped ‘market’

17 08 2009

The average consumer cares about ‘sustainability’ more than we might assume:

A recent study on consumer behavior from Deloitte indicates that there is an unrealized, latent consumer demand for sustainable products; almost half of consumers consider sustainability in purchasing decisions.

The study, which was released in July, was commissioned by the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA). It surveyed over 6,000 shoppers in 11 major retail markets. It found that, in contrast to the standard view on “greenies,” consumers considering sustainable products are not minimalist, nor easily categorized.

They are spread diversely along age range, education level, household size and income. On average, they did tend to be a little older, wealthier, and educated, but with a wide distribution across demographics.

The overall findings of the study indicate that this market is still heating up and there is much room for improvement by business:

  • More than half of shoppers consider sustainability when purchasing.
  • While sustainable product attributes are not the dominant purchasing driver for the majority of consumers, they tend to be a tie-breaker when price and performance are in parity
  • Consumers who tend to purchase green buy more products per trip and shop more often
  • Many find in-store communication on sustainable products lacking, at the same time they say it has a large impact on their purchasing decisions.

The study concludes that there is an accumulated latent demand for products with significant sustainable attributes which carry similar performance and price to standard products.

While almost all shoppers surveyed are aware of, or looking for, sustainable product attributes in their purchases, only 22% walked out of the store with sustainable products. With sustainable attributes being a tie breaker in purchasing decisions, in-store communication having heavy influence on purchasing behavior and green consumers being more brand loyal, a very large, attractive target market is being created.

From Globe-Net


So it Begins: European Union banning energy-inefficient goods

25 04 2009

European Union to Ban Goods that aren’t Energy Efficient : TreeHugger.

Hate to sound cocky, but… well… i called it. I should have made a bet with someone, but i take little to no credit–the writing was on the wall…

This is the beginning of a crucially important–but inevitably rife–shift to eco-protectionism…

…its going to tick off foreign manufacturers (especially in the developing world), and rightly so. But it’s going to happen regardless, so let’s hope they can leapfrog.

…the next rational step will be banning ‘unsustainable’ goods and even unsustainable produce… the question is who will define sustainable, why, and how…

…this is why i think a global life-cycle assessment initiative tied to something like the (floundering) WTO would be a rather good idea.

Here’s to hoping!

Japan: Agriculture the latest trend among celebrities

22 02 2009

Global Voices Online » Japan: Agriculture the latest trend among celebrities.

The Japanese economy, as confirmed by the head of the Bank of Japan’s research and statistics department Kazuo Monma (門間一夫), is facing one of the worse slowdowns in its modern history, with a GDP that has declined at a rate of 12,7%. Nonetheless, TV programs and lifestyle magazines are doing their best to inspire hope among their viewers and readers that not everything is lost.

Recently, in fact, a new trend has been spreading among Japanese V.I.P.: farm work. More of a few of these V.I.P. are celebrities who have decided to follow the example [jp] of pop-star Shiho Fujita (藤田志穂). Fujita announced the launch onto the market of rice produced by her company, with a view to redeeming the image of the gyaru [girls following a particular fashion style], who are often perceived in Japan as addicted to junk food.

おばあちゃんの畑, Granny’s vegetable garden. By nozawa.takeshi

The reaction of many bloggers about this “agriculture boom”, so heavily discussed on TV and in newspapers, has however been skeptical. In response to this trendy return to Mother Nature, in fact, some of them criticized what they see as people making light of farm labour.

The Idea of a Local Economy | Wendell Berry

11 02 2009

Not sure if you’ve read this one before, but Sarah passed this on to our 502 group:

… I am assuming that there is a valid line of thought leading from the idea of the total economy to the idea of a local economy. I assume that the first thought may be a recognition of one’s ignorance and vulnerability as a consumer in the total economy. As such a consumer, one does not know the history of the products that one uses. Where, exactly, did they come from? Who produced them? What toxins were used in their production? What were the human and ecological costs of producing them and then of disposing of them? One sees that such questions cannot be answered easily, and perhaps not at all. Though one is shopping amid an astonishing variety of products, one is denied certain significant choices. In such a state of economic ignorance it is not possible to choose products that were produced locally or with reasonable kindness toward people and toward nature. Nor is it possible for such consumers to influence production for the better. Consumers who feel a prompting toward land stewardship find that in this economy they can have no stewardly practice. To be a consumer in the total economy, one must agree to be totally ignorant, totally passive, and totally dependent on distant supplies and self-interested suppliers …

You can read the rest here.