A new Eurobarometer survey finds that four out of five Europeans consider the environmental impact of the products they buy.
83% of EU citizens polled said the impact of a product on the environment plays an important aspect in their purchasing decisions. The percentage was even higher among Greeks (92%); it was lowest among Czechs (62%).
In fact, most of those participating in the survey are hoping that new labeling will make their eco-purchasing decisions even easier in the future. 72% thought that a label indicating a product’s carbon footprint should be mandatory. However, attitudes on the subject varied widely between Member States, with the Czechs the least in favor (47%) and Greeks, once again, voicing overwhelmingly support (90% ).
Interestingly, the study results also show that about half of the survey respondents are savvy to greenwashing claims. 49% said they trust manufacturers’ claims about the environmental performance of their products; 48% do not. The Dutch were the most likely to trust environmental claims (78%), while Bulgarians were the least likely (26%).
A third (31%) of survey respondents said that the best way for retailers to promote green products is for them to provide better information to consumers. Approximately half of those polled (49%) think retailers should increase the visibility of eco-friendly products on their shelves or have a dedicated green corner in their store.
In addition, the survey revealed interesting insights about how EU citizens view the role of government in promoting green products. 46% said they thought that the best way to promote environmentally-friendly products would be to increase taxes on environmentally-damaging products and decrease taxes on environmentally-friendly products. Britons were most favorable to this plan, while the Maltese were much less so (28%), preferring only to reduce taxes on environmentally-friendly products.
“The battle against climate change must be fought on all fronts and everyone must contribute. It is not only the remit of companies and governments; consumers also have their part to play,” EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas says in a press release. “By purchasing environmentally and climate-friendly products individual customers send the right signal to producers who respond in turn by producing more eco-friendly products.”
For more information about European Sustainable Consumption and Production Policies, see http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/escp_en.htm .
A summary of the report is available at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/pdf/FL256_summary.pdf.