TABLE 3 Percent of Adults Who Believe Ads with Selected Messages, 1993



Environmental Message

Who Believe

Tells positive things the company is doing on social issues, the environment etc.


Says the product has been approved by an environmental group


Says a portion of profits will go to a good cause (disease prevention, environmental groups, etc.)


Says the product is better than competing products for the environment



SOURCE: Roper Organization, 1993.

area. Almost half of those surveyed favored an ad citing an endorsement by an environmental group (Table 3).

Segmentation Patterns in the United States

Wide variations in green attitudes and behaviors suggest the existence of distinct segments in the Triad. Some surveys, such as the Harris 1988 multicountry poll, found relatively few demographic variations, particularly among age groups. Other studies have attempted to profile distinct segments. Roper in 1990 and Simmons in 1991 categories five main clusters in the United states by commitment level. Both categorizations show a positive linkage between green commitment and higher-than-average income and education, as would be expected (Roper Organization, 1990; Simmons Market Research Bureau, 1992).

Roper's clusters are based not only on perceptions, but also on actual pro-environmental behaviors, such as recycling. The size of two most committed groups, True-Blue Greens and Greenback Greens (now collapsed into one segment), show a slight decline from 22 percent of U.S. adults in 1990 to 20 percent by 1993 (Figure 1). A second layer, termed Sprouts because of the emergence of environmental concerns in this group, showed significant growth, from 26 percent of Americans in 1990 to 35 percent in 1993. This led to a net overall increase in the number of green consumers. In 1990, fewer than half of Americans fell into the three environmentally active groups. In 1993, 55 percent did. Other surveys confirm the spread of environmental awareness to a mass audience. Two-thirds of Americans have noticed environmental claims on packaging in 1994, and half have purchased green products since 1990 (Stisser, 1993).

A slight backlash, however, has begun. The least active group identified by Roper grew from 28 percent of the population in 1990 to 32 percent in 1993 to 37 percent in the latest survey, conducted in July 1994. This increase occurred largely at the expense of the most committed group, which lost five percentage points from 1993 to 1994 (Table 4).

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