CONCLUSION

Despite variations across the Triad, consumer trends show a significant convergence among the United States, Northern Europe, and Japan. In all three markets, environmentalism has been internalized by business and has become a core component of corporate strategy. In all three, consumers also continue their ecological involvement, albeit with some downward fluctuations in recent years. A core group of greenest consumers is generally growing, although not necessarily organizing through political activism. As environmentalism becomes mainstream, environmental behaviors may shift toward everyday household activities rather than highly visible political action.

Environmental factors continue to affect brand-purchase decisions and company perceptions, but some ill-conceived, premature green claims made in recent years have led to a persistent skepticism concerning green advertising. Companies will need to base any communications about the environment on objective, quantified information about tangible programs and brand attributes (such as emission reduction targets and percent recycled content). Despite policy uncertainties and fluctuations in attitudes, companies with vision, structure, and market understanding will continue to use environmental performance as a key factor of competitive advantage, as many have already demonstrated across the Triad.

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