'GREEN WAVE' WASHES OVER MAINSTREAM SHOPPING

The Green consumer is alive and well, according to new research. Politicians who claim environmentalism is yesterday's issue maybe seriously misjudging the public mood.

A report from Mintel the market research organisation says that despite repression and financial pressures more people than ever want to buy environmentally friendly products and a "green wave' has swept through consumerism, taking in people previously untouched by an environmental conscience.

The report, published today, also predicts that the process will repeat itself with "ethical' products, involving issues such as fair trade with the Third World and the social record of businesses. Companies will have to be more honest and open in response to this mood.

Mintel's survey, based on nearly 1,000 consumers, found that the proportion who look for Green products and are prepared to pay more for them have climbed from 53 per cent in 1990 to 60 per cent in 1994. On average they would pay 13p in the pound more, although the premium is higher amongst women, managerial and professional groups and those aged 35 to 44.

Between 1990 and 1994 the proportion claiming to be unaware of or unconcerned about Green issues fell from 18 to 10 per cent but the number of Green spenders amongst older people and manual workers has risen substantially. Regions such as Scotland have also caught up with the South of England in their environmental concerns.

According to Mintel, the slightly "freakish' image of Green consumerism in the late 1980s - its association with "long hair and sandals" - has vanished. Angela Hughes, Mintel's consumer research manager, said it had become firmly established as a mainstream market.

"As far as the average man and woman in the street are concerned, environmentalism has not gone off the boil. It has spread across a much wider range of consumer groups, ages and occupations. "

Mintel's 1994 survey found that 13 per cent of consumers were "very dark green," nearly always buying environmentally friendly products, 28 per cent were dark green, trying "as far as possible" to buy such products, and 21 per cent were pale green - they"tend" to try and buy green products if they see them.

Another 28 per cent are armchair Greens; they say they care about environmental issues but their concern does not affect their spending habits. Only seven per cent say they do not care about Green issues.

Four in ten people are also "ethical spenders," buying goods which do not for example, involve dealings with oppressive regimes. The figure is the same as in 1990 although the n umber of "armchair ethicals" has risen from 28 to 35 per cent and only 22 per cent say they are unconcerned now, against 30 per cent in 1990.

"As the end of the 1990s approaches, consumers will be encouraged to think more about the entire history of the products and services they buy, including the policies of the companies that provide them. This will require a greater degree of honesty with consumers."

Amongst Green consumers, animal testing is the top issue - 48 per cent said they were would be deterred from buying a product if it had been tested on animals - followed by irresponsible selling, the ozone layer, river and sea pollution, forest destruction, recycling and factory farming. However , concern for such specific issues is lower than in 1990, suggesting that many consumers feel government and business have taken on the environmental agenda.

The Green Consumer, £1,395. Mintel, 18 to 19 Long Lane, London, EC1A 9HE.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MBDA UK Ltd: Electronic Sub-System Design Verification engineer

Flexible working, annual bonus, pension & more.: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the oppor...

MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Architect

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? MBDA has e...

MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Design Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity?MBDA has en...

MBDA UK Ltd: PCB Technologies Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity?MBDA has en...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor