Europeans are 50 percent more likely than Americans to buy “green” products from solar panels to hybrid cars to natural and organic foods, personal care and home products, according to a European LOHAS (Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability) study produced by a partnership between Porter Novelli and the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).

The survey also found that Europeans are 25 percent more likely to recycle and more than 30 percent likely to influence their friends and family about the environment than Americans.  

The 2007 LOHAS study, conducted in conjunction with Porter Novelli’s EuroPNStyles survey, segments the total adult population by country according to consumer attitudes, behaviors and product and service usage patterns across several areas including sustainability, corporate social responsibility, environmentalism, social issues and the use of eco-friendly products and services. EuroPNStyles, part of Porter Novelli’s communication-centered Styles database, also assesses major trends in technology, media patterns, sources of influence and health and nutrition. 

Consumers were surveyed in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

“Today, a brand’s value rests upon its ability to create positive exchanges among all of its stakeholders in a relationship that is interactive, mutable and transformative,” says Julie Winskie, partner and chief client officer at Porter Novelli. “Given the growth in ethical consumerism and eco-consciousness and the availability of information in a knowledge age, brands that adopt values of authenticity, transparency and integrity, and that are aligned with the core beliefs and values of their audiences, will have a greater chance of succeeding.” 

Europeans are eagerly adopting new behaviors related to green consumerism but paradoxically report being more price sensitive than their American counterparts. Specifically, Europeans are approximately 25 percent less likely than U.S. shoppers to say they will pay 20 percent more for eco-friendly products—although in reality Europeans are more likely to have purchased products like organic foods, renewable power and hybrid cars.

Europeans are also approximately 32 percent more likely than Americans to be motivated to buy products with seals or certifications indicating the product is environmentally-friendly, underscoring the critical roles that authenticity and transparency play.

And EU consumers are also approximately 25 percent more likely than U.S. consumers to say that, aside from making money for shareholders, it is most important for companies to be sensitive to their environmental impact. This indicates a strong need for meaningful corporate sustainability programs and effective communications that address this interest and show leadership over competitors.

“As global eco-momentum in the marketplace continues, the LOHAS movement will accelerate consumer alignment of social beliefs and personal values with those of brands and companies,” says Steve French, managing partner at NMI. “It is this frame of mind that will drive the LOHAS market and make sustainability the key growth driver of long-term stakeholder and brand equity for decades to come.”