Canadians think they are MUCH Greener than they really are



Canadians do not walk the talk when it comes to their commitments to greener living according to findings from the second annual Canadian Green Gap Index released this week by Optimum Public Relations and Summerhill. Faciliated by Leger Marketing, the insight report revealed a continued trend showing Canadians believe they they are much 'greener' than the actions they're taking to live a green lifestyle indicate.

The Green Gap Index measures environmental behaviours in six key areas: fuel conservation, home energy conservation, purchase preference for green products, recycling, waste reduction, and food and household goods. The largest gap is still in the are of fuel consumption (over 40%) due to low adoption of alternatives such as public transport, hybrid vehicles and carbon offsets.

Another trend that has emerged in 2010 is that Canadians tend to overstate some of their own environmental actions. A demonstration of the newly-labeled 'green pretense,' shows 72 percent of Canadians say they use reusable drinking containers instead of disposable drinking cups, when in fact, the line-ups at any coffee shop in the country suggest the percentage is much lower.

One reason for this incongruity between Canadians' green assertions and actions could be the perceived lack of leadership from corporate Canada in the area of green living and sustainability.

'Canadians have the power to transform markets, but they often look to corporations to help them adopt new behaviours or try new products,' says ERsilia Serafini, CEO of Summerhill. 'Our experience in environmental program delivery shows that the companies who are able to encourage Canadians to take action, experience the long-term benefits of customer loyalth and trust, as well as bottom line results.'

Highlights of the 2010 Survey include:

  • Older Canadians, namely those over 55, consistently demonstrate acAons that are more environmentally conscious. Though these acAons represent a smaller gap from their percepAons, a gap sAll remains
  • Surprisingly, the younger Canadian demographic, those under 35, are taking slightly less acAon, but admit it - giving them the smallest Green Gap. This is partly due to their demographic life cycle and therefore fewer are responsible for home energy bills and fuel consumpAon decisions in the household.
  • Canadians as a whole are indicaAng that they 'believe' they are parAcipaAng and want to do their part for the environment, but the acAons they're willing to take have only minimal impact on their exisAng behaviours and the environment.

'Canadians have the power to transform markets, but they often need an 'incentive' at the point of purchase to adopt new behaviours or try new products,' says Ersilia Serafini, CEO of Summerhill. 'Our experience from years of environmental program delivery shows that Canadians who take action strengthen their beliefs and realize how simple it is to make a true environmental commitment. To make markets more sustainable we need to make it easier for consumers to do the right thing.'

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