In a recently publicized report on Americans'
Actions to Limit Global Warming in April 2013, the Yale
Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason
University Center for Climate Change Communication found that
American shopping behavior is increasingly tipping toward
"green" products. Majorities of those surveyed said
that the next time they make a major home purchase, they will
buy an energy-efficient kitchen appliance (75%), hot water heater
(71%), air conditioner (68%), or furnace (67%). Sixty-one
percent said their next car will average 30 miles per gallon or
In other categories covered by the survey, 28% of consumers said
that in the last twelve months they had preferentially bought
products from companies that are taking steps to reduce global
warming and 21% had disfavored companies thought to be opposing
climate change efforts. Also in the prior year, 26% of those
surveyed said they had discussed with friends or family their
perception of a company's irresponsible environmental
behavior. Other questions elicited responses showing strong
support for buying locally grown or produced foods as well as
Even discounting the survey numbers to some degree because they
ask about intentions rather than track actual performance, it is
clear that climate change-related factors are having an impact on
Americans' consumer buying patterns. Regardless of what
may or may not be happening with federal legislative or regulatory
action on climate change issues, this type of survey result is
likely to influence corporate behavior as companies assess the
market impact of these forces.
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