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Consumers push businesses on the green agenda

Most people would like more environmental information about the products they buy, according to research by the Carbon Trust

Nearly three-quarters of consumers want businesses to do more to help them make more informed "green" and other environmental choices about the products they buy, research revealed today.

At the same time, almost two-thirds of consumers (63%) said they are more likely to buy a product if they know actions are being taken to reduce its carbon footprint.

The research fromthe Carbon Trust also revealed that even environmentally responsible brands could be doing more to "shout louder". Only 12% of consumers think companies are doing enough to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change. This is linked to their call for more help on making better choices and a demand from just under half (47%) for information on how to reduce the footprint of a product when using it.

Almost two-thirds of those questioned were aware that a product such as a chocolate bar or a loaf of bread had a carbon footprint, and that reducing the footprint of products and services, which between them account for 60% of the UK's carbon output, is vital.

The Carbon Trust was set up by the government in 2001 as an independent company to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy. It has worked with companies including PepsiCo (Tropicana, Walkers and Quakers), Tesco, Coca-Cola, Marshalls and Kimberly Clark on more than 65 product carbon footprinting projects and 3,000 individual product lines.

Its latest research questioned more than 1,000 consumers across the UK in an attempt to better understand their attitudes towards carbon reduction and the labelling of products.

The results suggest green credentials are shown to carry consumer weight. Committing to reduce a product's carbon footprint has a positive impact on the brand's reputation, with 58% of consumers saying they valued companies that take action to reduce their carbon emissions.

Euan Murray, general manager, carbon footprinting at the Carbon Trust, said: "Companies can't ignore the fact that consumers do care about climate change and what a brand is doing to fight it.

"Carbon Trust research shows that a business's commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of its products has a significant impact with the consumer and that 70% of consumers want help in making the right choices."

He added: "Retailers and producers who are committed to reducing their products' carbon footprint can get ahead by responding to this increasing consumer demand."

In 2007 the trust developed a carbon reduction label to help brands demonstrate their commitment to carbon reduction and help consumers understand more about taking action on climate change.

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