Most Consumers Will Boycott Products Over False Green Claims

By Jonathan Bardelline of GreenBiz

Image source: Marine Stewardship Council product label - CC license by qgil/Flickr

BOSTON, MA —  Many people want companies to be honest in their environmental claims, even if they aren’t perfect, and will be quick to boycott products with deceptive advertising, says a survey.

The 2011 Green Gap Trend Tracker by research and consulting firm Cone found that 75 percent of consumers would stop buying a product if they felt it’s environmental claim were misleading, and 37 percent would quit buying anything made by company behind the product.

Three-fourths also don’t mind if a company’s environmental record isn’t spotless, so long as they are honest and transparent in their marketing and advertising about their impacts.

Although Americans are willing to punish misleading brands, many themselves misunderstand common claims. While 97 percent feel they know what phrases like “green” and “environmentally friendly” mean, 41 percent incorrectly think they mean products have a positive or beneficial impact on the environment, instead of being less bad.

Most responders are wary of general phrases alone, and almost 60 percent say overall claims are acceptable only when they are backed up with additional information. About 80 percent also want to see details on a product’s packaging, and almost as many want companies to do a better job explaining what environmental terms mean.

A company’s own environmental claims also take a backseat to certification when it comes to influencing consumer purchases. Thirty percent of those surveyed said they would buy a product based on it carrying an environment claim, but 51 percent said a certification label would influence them towards buying a product.

The 2011 Green Gap Trend Tracker is based off a survey of 1,040 people conducted by Cone in early March.

Source: Article originated at