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    8 Out of 10 Consumers Buying Green, Despite Battered Economy: Study

    Packaging is a key factor in green buying decisions, the research found.

    Four out of five people say they're still buying green products and services in the midst of a recession -- despite the fact that these items sometimes carry higher costs, according to a new study commissioned by Green Seal and EnviroMedia Social Marketing and conducted by global market research firm Opinion Research Corp.

    According to the 2009 National Green Buying Survey, half of the 1,000 people surveyed say they're buying just as many green products now as before the economic downturn, while 19 percent say they are buying more green products. Fourteen percent are buying fewer environmentally green products.

    "This research suggests that consumers are buying green products second only to participating in recycling," said Arthur Weissman, president and CEO of Washington-based Green Seal, which provides science-based environmental certification standards for products and services. "This increased consumer demand sends a signal to manufacturers to produce products that are truly green."

    Other key findings were:

    -- Twenty-one percent of consumers say a product's reputation is the biggest factor they weigh when making purchasing decisions, followed by word of mouth (19 percent) and brand loyalty (15 percent). Just 9 percent say green advertising is their primary influencer.
    -- About one in three consumers say they don't know how to tell if green product claims are true.
    -- One in 10 consumers blindly trust green product claims.
    -- Consumers verify green claims by reading the packaging (24 percent) and turning to research (17 percent).

    Packaging is a key factor in green purchasing, the study found. Sixty percent of those surveyed look for minimally packaged goods.

    "There's a real opportunity for authentic green marketing, despite the tough economy," said Valerie Davis, principal and CEO of Austin, Texas-based EnviroMedia. "This research proves people want to do what's best for the environment, but it needs to be easy and accessible. Companies should be clear about the environmental benefits of their products and services and make sure what they claim in the TV ad is backed up consistently on product packaging and on the Web site."

    Additional findings are available at www.enviromedia.com

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