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Survey: Shoppers Want One Green Score

CHICAGO — New research shows that consumers are experiencing a bit of vertigo when shopping for sustainable products. Rather than sift through a variety of claims, they’d rather have one universal “green” score indicating the environmental impact of a product.

The survey, conducted by marketing firms Mambo Sprouts and Ryan Partnership Chicago, found that 80% of shoppers want to see a sustainability score on products. Three quarters prefer this to be a numerical score, while just 25% would like to see symbols or text. The survey also found that people wouldn’t mind multiple scores, given the complexity of calculating sustainability.

"We know that consumer commitment to earth-friendly products is increasing," says Christine Nardi Diette, president of Ryan Partnership Chicago. "But all of the green messaging is creating more confusion than confidence. Consumers are challenging manufacturers and retailers to be clear about their commitment to sustainability."

Supermarkets have adopted this approach with nutrition labeling systems like Guiding Stars and NuVal. Various companies, most notably Tesco in the United Kingdom, have rolled out carbon footprint labels on products.