SCA, a global personal hygiene product company ranked as one of the world's most sustainable companies and maker of the Tork Brand, has conducted a national online survey for the fourth consecutive year on customers' views on sustainability. Tork commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct the survey which was executed online in May 2012 among 2,199 U.S. adults aged 18+. Consistent results over the past four years show that sustainability has stood the test of time.
According to this year's survey Americans continue to welcome green practices, even during difficult economic times. More specifically, results show that more than two-thirds (69%) of American adults purchase green products or services. Among them, 48% make these purchases because they are better for the environment. To further illustrate that responsible practices are here to stay, research showed over four in ten U.S. adults (42%) believe green products and services are just getting started and nearly one third (32%) believe that it is now the norm and a required expectation.
"While the majority of the adults indicated they make green purchases, we did see a small decrease compared to previous years. Coupled with the fact that almost one third of the people indicated green is the new normal, one could presume that people don't even see their current green purchases as being green anymore when in actuality they are. It could very well now be ingrained in their habits," said Mike Kapalko, Sustainability Marketing Manager for SCA's Tork Brand.
SCA's annual survey on consumers' green habits showcases the company's industry leadership and commitment to further creating a green and clean marketplace. SCA chose to release the results of the survey, recognizing that tomorrow is World Environment Day, a United Nations observance of environmental issues.
The majority of U.S. adults (82%) are knowledgeable about which companies and brands have a strong history of sustainability. Of those, a staggering 80% consider the history of the company's sustainability when purchasing from them. Furthermore, when it comes to the idea of ethical companies and transparency, meaning accessible public information on operations, almost one in five adults believe that most companies are doing the right things. Also, only 18% trust companies claiming to be transparent even if they have independent verification for accuracy.
Customers Rely on Research and Third-Party Certifications
SCA research shows that three quarters of U.S. adults (73%) can determine if a green claim is true. However, how they determine the validity of a claim is divided. Twenty-seven percent consider their own research to be the most reliable, while 19% rely on independent third party certifications. Other determinates include visiting the company's website, opinions from peers and reputation.
"As sustainability has continued to evolve to become more a part of everyday life, customers are taking the time to educate themselves on the range of practices and products that are available," said Joshua Radoff, a sustainability expert and member of the Tork Green Hygiene Council. "However, with the range of claims vying for consumers' attention, green certifications have gained an increased importance because they are a transparent and unbiased source and can help guide customers towards efforts that are genuine and authentic."
Green Restaurants Have an Advantage
The survey also found that people stand behind a restaurant that proves to be socially and environmentally responsible. Fifty-two percent of U.S. adults would rather eat at a restaurant with a social and environmental component. Patrons believe the best way for a business or restaurant to show their environmental commitment is by promoting greener choices on menus, store shelves and posters.
Furthermore, nearly half of U.S. adults expect a green restaurant to cost more, showing an associated premium with sustainable goods and services. This number is similar to last year's study which implies that people are placing those values above cost. Moreover, if a business can actually save money being green, they really can improve their bottom line.
"Sustainability is important to customers and the consistency of the survey results over the past four years show the availability of green products and services is not a fad but expected," said Kapalko. "Doing what is environmentally correct is what customers want."