Australians cynical about ‘green’ as a marketing term

In our study on “The Recession and Its Impact on the Environment” (to download, click here), we found that while Australians are increasingly environmentally conscious and concerned about sustainability, the term “green” evokes considerable cynicism—many consumers regard it as a trendy but ambiguous marketing buzz word.

Is the language of “green” useful if it is one-dimensional and provokes cynicism? As consumers grow more wary of greenwashing, opportunity lies in speaking honestly about tangible green benefits or credentials, perhaps leveraging a resource story of how the product is made.

One brand that’s doing a good job in the latter department is Lipton, which is running a series of corporate advertisements announcing that Lipton is the “world’s first Rainforest Alliance Certified tea”—with the official credentials and its relation to tree farms clearly explained.

3 Responses to “Australians cynical about ‘green’ as a marketing term”


  • Australian’s only care about being green when it helps them save money.

    With concerns around the economy, employment and cost of living being top of mind, it’s logical to give green the back seat.

  • “Australians only care about being green when it helps them save money”

    Simon – clearly, there will always be a disconnect between what people say and what they actually do, similar to how Australians will report that they prefer to buy Australian Made products… but faced with the products and prices at the shelf level this doesn’t necessarily translate into action.

    But research would suggest that the green movement has connected with people (as consumers) and is weighing into their purchase decisions, not simply a ‘passing fad’.

    However, the inverse relationship between rising economic concerns and paying more for green products is certainly a key point to consider in times like these!

    What’s really interesting to me is the cynicism around ‘green’ as a marketing buzz word. Do you have any thoughts on the impact of this cynicism more broadly, if it continues to build within our market?

  • I think green will become a mandatory on people’s shopping list, and companies will be legislated to HAVE TO build in green compentsations into their product.

    What we’re seeing with some clients is that the cutting edge customers, early adopters, are very green concious, which means that we’re likely to see this picked up by the mainstream by 2011.

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