Demand for Low-Carbon Products Grows, Despite Recession

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Image credit: gwire, used under Creative Commons license.

It's not just home wind turbines in the US that have seen strong sales, despite the recession. In the UK too we've seen the "ethical consumer" market grow 18%, bucking the economic downturn. And now a new report suggests that demand for "low carbon" products has also grown, with consumers continuing to show support for companies who take responsibility for the impact of their products on the environment. Reporting over at The Guardian, Harry Morrison posts on a new survey that shows growing demand for low carbon products and services, even in these challenging economic times. Produced by UK-based non-profit The Carbon Trust (which Morrison is director of certification and accreditation services of), the research suggests very significant numbers of consumers are both more likely to buy products and services that do show a commitment to cutting emissions and, crucially, are also willing to punish those who do not:

The Carbon Trust figures also reveal that 45% of shoppers would be prepared to stop buying their favourite brands if they refused to commit to measuring their product's carbon footprint, a rate that has doubled over the past year from 22%. Brand loyalty is also at stake: 56% of people would be more loyal to a brand if they could see at a glance that it was taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint.

In addition, the research shows that a large percentage of people are prepared to make lifestyle changes to reduce their impact on the environment if they don't have to pay more: 70% said they would follow simple energy-saving advice on product packaging to reduce their carbon footprint. A quarter would consider taking fewer overseas holidays.

Of course, surveys should always be taken with a grain of salt. And surveys from organizations who help companies cut their carbon emissions, and just happen to show a demand for companies to cut their carbon emissions, should perhaps be taken particularly cautiously. But the fact that the survey is showing a year-on-year increase can only be a good thing. And with more and more companies stepping up and beginning to take real initiatives to tackle their impact, it should become increasingly easy for UK consumers to act on their intentions.

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