Survey reveals the best and worst green and sustainable buzzwords

OnBuy.com recently conducted a survey among consumers to discover what consumers think when it comes to green and sustainable buzzwords.

The survey revealed that when it comes to such words used in advertising 83% of consumers feel misled.

Words like biodegradable, recycled and recyclable encourage consumers to purchase, whereas phrases like ‘powered by nature’ discourage 67% of shoppers. While, organic, eco-friendly and green are among the most discouraging buzzwords.

Top 10 discouraging buzzwords

  • Powered by nature – 67%.
  • Organic – 50%.
  • Eco-friendly – 46%.
  • Green – 46%.
  • Natural – 38%.
  • Clean – 38%.
  • Environmental – 33%.
  • Low carbon footprint – 29%.
  • Net zero – 29%.
  • Minimal impact – 25%.

Top 10 encouraging buzzwords

  • Biodegradable – 74%.
  • Recycled – 63%.
  • Recyclable – 44%.
  • Carbon-neutral – 44%.
  • Sustainable – 44%.
  • Organic – 37%.
  • Compostable – 33%.
  • Zero-waste – 33%.
  • Eco-friendly – 26%.
  • Low carbon footprint – 22%.

The survey also asked participants which words were the misunderstood, with low-VOC coming out on top with 96% not knowing the meaning behind the phrase.

Further key findings include; 90% of consumers thinking retailers need to be more transparent about how green their stock is; 55% of consumers stating they would challenge retailers on their sustainability if they were unsure on their policy; and 76% of consumers thinking they need more education about what is and isn’t sustainable.

And finally, when asked ‘which of the following do you think is key in making shopping greener?’ consumers answered:

  • Companies to recycle and/or reuse most of what they create in the production process (44%).
  • Environmentally efficient packaging (no plastic) (33%).
  • Green shipping methods (local pick up) (15%).
  • Products made with raw materials (organic cotton) (7%).

The survey was completed by 3,446 participants. With many retailers accused of ‘greenwashing’ (whereby a company or organisation spends more on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly than on minimising their environmental impact), OnBuy.com thought it important to find out consumers thoughts on green and sustainable buzzwords.

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