Americans Still Prioritize Economic Growth Over Environment
Consumers Buy Green Products for Long-Term Savings and Health
Eight-in-Ten Americans Say They Live Green Sometimes
Consumers Prefer to Buy From Socially Responsible Companies

Americans Still Prioritize Economic Growth Over Environment

While over the last three decades most Americans prioritized the environment (55%) over economic growth (37%), the current recession has caused a shift in priorities.

The current trend shows Americans favor economic growth (47%) over the environment (41%). Americans 30 or older prioritize the economy, however, half or more of younger people aged 18-29 continue to prioritize the environment.

The long-term trend in Americans’ views of the trade-offs between the environment and economic growth suggest that this is more likely to become a major issue in the presidential race if the U.S. economy continues to struggle than if the economy picks up significant positive momentum.

Higher Priority for Economic Growth or Environment by Age








Consumers Buy Green Products for Long-Term Savings and Health

Americans’ top reason for buying environmentally friendly products is because they believe these products will save them money in the long run (90%) and because they consider the products healthier for themselves, their families, and/or their communities.

While consumers care about the environmental impact of their purchase, they don’t want to have to do the research to find out what that impact might be. Fewer than half (43%) say they actively seek out environmental information about the products they buy.

More than seven in 10 (73%) want companies to provide more environmental information on product packaging, and 71% want companies to help consumers understand the terms they use when describing products and services.

How Often U.S. Consumers Consider Environmental Impact of Purchases













Eight-in-Ten Americans Say They Live Green Sometimes

At least 25% of Americans claim to always practice eco-friendly behaviors such as recycling, driving energy-efficient vehicles, and buying green products, according to an Ipsos poll for

Almost half of all adults (46%) are more inclined to buy a product if it’s environmentally friendly, and 41% say they’ll pay a little more for a product or service if it’s environmentally friendly.

Women are more likely than men to say they buy green products when they are easily available and the price is right (45% vs. 36%).

Circumstances Under Which Americans Buy Environmentally Friendly Products














Consumers Prefer to Buy from Socially Responsible Companies

Companies with programs designed to “give back” to society attract two thirds (66%) of global consumers to buy their products or services and just under half (46%) say they are willing to pay extra for products and services from these companies.

The most important causes people care about are environmental stability, science and math education programs, hunger and poverty, and aid for people affected by natural disasters.

Socially conscious consumers are more likely than global consumers overall to trust ads on social networks, online video ads, banner ads and text ads on mobile phones.

Causes Socially Conscious Consumers Think Companies Should Support




















  • The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has successfully completed the first full-scale deployment of critical well control equipment to exercise the oil and gas industry’s response to a potential subsea blowout in the deepwater of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Almost half of Americans (48%) say they’d be significantly more likely to practice eco-friendly habits if they were fined or penalized for not doing so.
  • U.S. consumers spent 24% more on gas in 2011 than in 2010, but purchased 2% fewer total gallons.

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