ORLANDO, Fla. – Sustainability will play an increasingly important role in general merchandise sales, said Maryellen Molyneaux, president, Natural Marketing Institute, Harleysville, Pa. She spoke during the opening business session of the General Merchandise Marketing Conference of the Global Market Development Center, Colorado Springs, here this past weekend. “Principles of conscious consumption will come to dominate the brandscape,” Molyneaux said. New NMI survey results showed that 60% of Americans said they are becoming increasingly concerned about protecting the environment, and 43% said they are actually doing something, she said. Retailers and manufacturers should expect more government involvement because 50% of Americans said it should spend more time and money on environmental issues than on the Iraq war, she added. Forty-seven percent said they can personally affect global warming, Molyneaux noted. One general merchandise example she cited of an environmentally sensitive product going mainstream is compact fluorescent light bulbs. Molyneaux also cautioned the industry against greenwashing, or marketing efforts that portray an ecological image, but are not sufficiently backed up. Consumers are increasingly able to discern such efforts, she said.
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