Survey: Consumers Misconstrue Eco Claims

BOSTON — As Earth Day approaches, retailers and manufacturers alike are putting so-called environmentally friendly and products in the spotlight. But an online study of more than 1,000 adults reveals that consumers misunderstand what these phrases actually mean, according to strategy and communications firm Cone. More than two in five Americans (41%) erroneously believe these terms mean a product has

BOSTON — As Earth Day approaches, retailers and manufacturers alike are putting so-called “environmentally friendly” and “green” products in the spotlight.

But an online study of more than 1,000 adults reveals that consumers misunderstand what these phrases actually mean, according to strategy and communications firm Cone.

More than two in five Americans (41%) erroneously believe these terms mean a product has a positive impact on the environment. Only 29% understand that these terms more accurately describe products with less environmental impact than previous versions or competing products.

“Consumers continue to be confused about environmental claims, often without realizing it,” Jonathan Yohannan, Cone's senior vice president of corporate responsibility, said in a statement.

To overcome this gap between environmental messaging and consumer perception, companies need to provide detailed information in-line with the Federal Trade Commission's guidelines in a place where consumers are making purchase decisions, according to Cone.