As we’re finishing up our October/November issue, which has a big focus on “green,” the results of a survey on environmental friendliness comes to mind.


The Green Gap Survey conducted in 2008 polled Americans on environmental marketing measures. The results are surprising: According to the survey, almost four in 10 (39%) Americans are preferentially buying products they believe to be “environmentally friendly.” At the same time, almost half (48%) of the population erroneously believes a product marketed as “green” or “environmentally friendly” has a positive (i.e., beneficial) impact on the environment. Only 22 percent understand these terms more accurately describe products with less negative environmental impact than previous versions or competing products.


The best way to get the message across? Among other ways, be precise: instead of making claims that a product is “environmentally friendly,” use terms like “made with 80% post-consumer recycled paper.” Personally, if a label tells me how many trees I might save by using their recycled paper products, I might be more inclined to purchase them. Of course, “greenwashing” is always a possibility as well, and the best way to know if something is truly green is to do your homework.


Do you purchase products based on their green claims? Let us know with a comment below.