According to an article from National Geographic, a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that environmental labeling on products can be a hurdle to some buyers. The study, titled "Political ideology affects energy-efficiency attitudes and choices," specifically looked at potential light bulb buyers and assessed how their political orientations impacted their preference towards purchasing bulbs labeled with "protect the environment" stickers. Overall, political divisions played a role up until price became a purchasing factor.
Here are some facts and details from the study and implications of it related to marketing products as environmentally-friendly:
* The study was conducted by Dena Gromet and Howard Kunreuther of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, and Richard Larrick of Duke University.
* Exactly 210 individuals participated and they were given a brief description of energy efficiency and a short survey on the value they placed on reducing environmentally harmful carbon dioxide emissions, dependence on foreign oil, and the financial cost of energy for consumers.
* The political leanings of each participant were also recorded as the independent variable by the researchers.
* With a fixed amount of money, the test subjects had to make the choice of whether they wanted to buy a regular, incandescent light bulb or an energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulb. The latter lasts 9,000 hours longer and cut energy costs by 75 percent.
* Efficient bulbs were presented with a "protect the environment sticker" in some cases, and in others, there was a blank sticker instead.
* The main finding was that the more conservative participants were, the less they favored investing in energy-efficient technologies and reducing the problems of the three surveyed issues.
* As for those who consider themselves liberal, they tended to favor the three issues all equally and more so than their conservative counterparts.
* The liberal group did not see a significant increase in selection of the energy-efficient when the "protect the environment" label was added.
* However, when money was the predominant factor and both bulbs cost the same, both groups overwhelmingly chose the compact fluorescent bulb over the traditional bulb. Only one individual in the study did not choose in this way.
* The implications of the study are especially important as related to green marketing and how this can pose a problem to individuals adopting such technologies.
* Gromet said, "There's not going to be a one-size-fits-all message that will appeal equally. It's important to know the market you're appealing to; there are some messages you may want to avoid," noted Grist.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.
- Nature & Environment