Manufacturers and retailers take note: Consumers worldwide are more likely to recommend, buy, and pay extra for brands they perceive to be climate-friendly, and two-thirds say they would be willing to pay more for products made with wind energy. Overwhelmingly they either prefer or don’t mind seeing wind turbines in their daily life.
The Global Consumer Wind Study by TNS Gallup for Vestas polled 31,000 people in 26 countries in May 2011, and found that they consider climate change to be the number one problem facing the world today, and that 90% want more renewable energy.
Many are willing to vote with their pocketbooks: 50% would pay extra for products produced with renewable energy.
And wind leads the renewable sector in consumers’ minds: 79% had a more positive perception of brands produced with wind energy, and 65% would prefer to purchase brands produced using wind energy.
Asked specifically about WindMadeâ„¢, the global consumer label that will identify companies and soon, products that use wind energy, 65% said that the label would be relevant to them, and 67% said they would pay extra for products labeled WindMadeâ„¢. That’s good news for the label, launched in January and rolled out in the U.S. last month (see “WindMadeâ„¢ label standard presented to U.S. market,” June 15, 2011).
Unfortunately, the reliable information that WindMadeâ„¢ represents is in short supply. While the study found that people intend to purchase eco-friendly products, it also found they often don’t have enough information about what products are eco-friendly and sustainably produced, so they’re often wrong about how “green” products really are.
The “citizumers” of today are both citizens and consumers and demand 21st Century brands, said Morten AlbÃ¦k, senior vice president for global marketing and customer insight of Vestas Wind Systems, at the release of the survey results June 29 at Bloomberg New Energy Finance offices in New York.
AlbÃ¦k said for companies to succeed, they need to be “a hybrid between being a respectable and profitable company and improving and sustaining the world.”
The Gallup survey illustrated the difference in how Americans see the world’s problems: just 7% of Americans consider climate change the “number one challenge facing the world today,” versus 53% in China. In contrast, 50% of Americans view a major economic recession as the world’s top challenge, versus 16% in China.
However, even most Americans appear to have been persuaded by climate science: Asked whether climate change is caused by human activity, 67% of Americans said yes (which compares with 94% in China, and a worldwide average of 82%).
Meanwhile, asked whether they would mind having wind turbines close enough to be visible in daily life, 70% said they would favor that, and only 7% were strongly opposed.
The Global Consumer Wind Study survey report and accompanying slides and videos are available at vestas.com/transparency.