'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?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future