Defra hails 'positive green' readers

Readers of The Independent are some of Britain's most environmentally conscious consumers, according to a government study which identified different groups within the "green movement" and rated them according to motivation and interest.

The report, which placed one in five of the population – including regular readers of this newspaper – in the "positive greens" category, aims to persuade people to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.

Respondents to the poll were ranked in six classifications – "waste-watchers", "concerned supporters", "sideline supporters", "cautious participants", "stalled starters" and the "honestly disengaged". But researchers found even the environmentally pro-active groups did not know how best to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The report, for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said positive greens were most likely to buy environment-friendly goods, were "keen to avoid waste, and most likely to feel guilty about the environment".

Waste-watchers were greener than average but "more likely to be sceptical about the scale and urgency of environmental problems". Concerned consumers, who apparently make up 14 per cent of the population, are sympathetic to the issue of climate change and rate themselves as green, but take more flights than any other group.

One in 10 of us are said to be stalled supporters, with very negative views about global warming and the least knowledge about the problem. Another 18 per cent are honestly disengaged, showing "a lack of interest and concern". Half of these people believe the threat from global warming has been exaggerated.

Some people in the greenest categories have higher carbon footprints than others because of their high incomes, Defra said.