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Increase in Green Behavior Seen, As Indians Rank Most Sustainable, Americans Rank Lowest in 2010 Greendex Survey of 17 Countries

Perceived "greenwashing" and lack of leadership, more than cost, inhibit green behavior

Washington DC (United States), 3 June 2010 - Environmentally friendly behavior among consumers in 10 of 17 countries has increased over the past year, according to the third annual survey by the National Geographic Society and international polling firm GlobeScan. The 17-country survey looked at consumer behaviors that have an impact on the environment, including their transportation patterns, household energy and resource use and consumption of food and everyday consumer goods, as well as what consumers were doing to minimize that impact. American consumers' behavior still ranks as the least sustainable of consumers in all countries surveyed since the survey's inception three years ago, followed by Canadian and French consumers, though improvement was seen.

The survey found that environmentally friendly consumer behavior, as measured by the Greendex, has increased from 2008 levels in all but one of the 14 countries polled in both 2008 and 2010, but that suspicion of so-called "greenwashing"-companies making false claims about the environmental impact of their products-is the most significant barrier to further improvement. Out of a list of ten obstacles to doing more for the environment, the perception of "greenwashing" emerged as the most frequently cited factor, followed closely by governments and industries failing to take action.

Released on the eve of United Nations World Environment Day, "Greendex 2010: Consumer Choice and the Environment-A Worldwide Tracking Survey" is a comprehensive measure of consumer behavior in 65 areas relating to housing, transportation, food and consumer goods. Greendex 2010 ranks average consumers in 17 countries according to the environmental impact of their consumption patterns and is the only survey of its kind.

As in 2008, the top-scoring consumers of 2010 are in the developing economies of India, Brazil, China and Mexico, in descending order. Consumers registering the largest 2010 versus 2008 increase in environmentally sustainable consumer behavior are the Indians, Russians and Americans. Environmentally sustainable behavior among average consumers in India, China, Mexico, Russia, Hungary, Japan, Great Britain and Canada has increased steadily each year. In contrast, consumers in Germany, Spain, Sweden and France have slipped slightly over the past year.

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Further Resources

World Environment Day (WED)

Discover Your Greendex Score


National Geographic


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