Greendex Gives U.S. Consumers a Failing Grade on Going Green


We hope we are making a dent in consumer behavior – helping to foster changes that will save us money while slowing the destruction and pollution of resources – our oceans, habitats, energy and wildlife. Are environmentalists making inroads in bringing it all to a halt?

Results of a survey measuring global progress shows some of the wealthiest nations which have a greater impact on the environment – Japan, the U.S. and Canada – come in last in this effort.

The second annual study by National Geographic and the international polling firm GlobeScan monitored consumer progress toward environmentally sustainable consumption in 17 countries around the world, evaluating a total of 17,000 of us.

Are we conserving energy, driving hybrids or taking public transportation, opting for green products over traditional ones, recycling and reusing and gaining knowledge of environmental issues?

In answering “yes” to those crucial questions, the developing economies of India, Brazil and China ranked the highest, just as they did in 2008. But this year, Argentina and South Korea, both new additions to the survey, tied for fourth as top-scoring consumers, followed by Mexicans, Hungarians and Russians. Europeans and Australians are next. The Japanese, U.S. and Canadian consumers are the lowest again, as they were in 2008.




The survey did find there has been an increase in environmentally friendly consumer behavior in 13 of the 14 countries that were surveyed in both 2008 and 2009. (This year’s survey added consumers from three countries, for a total of 17.)

According to the results, the Greendex survey identifies several types of eco-friendly behavior that have increased and resulted in cost savings for consumers.

Consumers in 11 of the 14 countries surveyed in 2008 and 2009 are saving energy in their homes by controlling the heating and cooling thermostats. You’ll also be glad to know washing laundry in cold water and air drying to save energy is catching on in nine countries surveyed in both years. And choosing used household items and repairing broken items rather than tossing and buying new is becoming more widespread.

Observers of the survey say the upside is that scores overall are up from last year, despite the collapse of the economy as we knew it. The results also send the message to manufacturers that if you build it green, we will come and get it. Consumers want to make the right choices when given the chance.

Interested in taking your own Greendex survey? Go ahead and let us know how you are doing in the green department!

Image: Insider

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.