The vast majority of consumers won’t trade up for premium products boasting green credentials, according to a top Procter & Gamble executive.
Manufacturers must instead ensure all new product development programmes stay ‘green’, and that sustainable innovations are cost-effective, according to Kirstie Hawkes, head of sustainability at the packaged-goods giant.
“Consumers won’t be keen to trade off,” says Hawkes. “Instead it will fall to companies to ensure that all new products incorporate sustainability into their thinking, while ensuring the consumers’ core priorities of performance and value are taken care of.”
Hawkes’ view contrasts with new research published by marketing agency Gyro International which Hawkes debated at a conference last week. The research suggests that the environment remains a priority to consumers hit by the recession, and that brands’ green credentials have a far greater influence on consumer purchasing decisions than marketing directors recognise.
The survey, which questioned more than 2000 consumers and 150 marketing directors across Europe and the US, was designed to gauge how much consumers really care about the environment and products’ green credentials. The results show that 61% of marketing directors believe less than 30% of consumers consider green issues when paying for goods. However, the actual figure is 53%.
Hawkes says: “Sustainability is a core part of our innovation at Procter & Gamble, but it should be built into new products to allow the majority of consumers to concentrate on other factors.”