I recently ran an Invoke Live! Session where we talked to 200 consumers about the things they do at home that could be considered green. Based on things I’ve heard from friends, colleagues and the news media (even my local high school made news by outfitting the graduating seniors in caps and gowns made from recycled bottles), I thought I was going to learn that the average American is actually pretty green. Instead, I learned that being green is all relative.
While many Americans do consider themselves to be green, it is because they do things like recycling or conserving energy at home, rather than the more proactively green practices like growing their own vegetables, buying green products or using alternative energy sources.
“I consider myself to be green because I like to recycle paper that I don’t use”
“I recycle a lot (but I am not obsessed about it).“
“I consider myself green because I recycle what I can and I try to use less energy.”
So why aren’t consumers as green as we think?
Well, finances for one. Consumers recognize that going green can be an expensive endeavor and in today’s economic environment making sure you can feed your family and pay your bills often takes precedence over the desire to do things that would benefit the planet. Even when consumers are engaged in planet-friendly habits like using energy efficient bulbs, having Energy Star rated appliances and turning off lights when they leave the room, the core motivation is the costs they are saving rather than the environmental benefits.
What else is preventing the consumer from being more proactively green? For further insight read our Invoke Live! report on Conscious Consumption Part II: From Market to Home.