L’Oréal backed study claims Americans are slow to adopt eco-conscious attitudes

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Climate change Recycling

Although Americans are willing to take modest steps to protect the environment or conserve energy, shifts in attitudes and more eco-conscious behaviors are slow to come, particularly among mature segments of the population.

These findings are according to the 2011 Sustainable Living ​national telephone survey conducted last month by L’Oréal USA and ORC International.

The survey found that when it comes to green purchases, less than one in four respondents said they buy eco-friendly products validated by third party eco-labels and certifications, and 43 percent say they would only purchase products that are environmentally friendly or socially responsible if offered at the same price as their usual brands.

If given a choice between two equally performing products, 38 percent of Americans say that they would choose the more eco-friendly option.

Don’t believe climate change is occurring

The study also found that 39 percent of Americans still don’t believe there is concrete proof that climate change is occurring.

According to the survey, the percentage of American’s who are skeptical about climate change increases to 45 percent in the 55+ age demographic.

And one out of four Americans of retirement age (65+) say they don’t care about climate change because they do not perceive that it will have any significant effect during their lifetime.

However, the survey found that 79 percent of 18-34-year-olds believe that new technologies and alternative sources of renewable energy are necessary to reduce global warming, and that we have the scientific know-how to solve this problem.

Three quarters of this population believe that we can reverse greenhouse gas effects, but in addition to technological solutions, it will require significant behavioral changes among citizens around the world.

Important to understand consumer attitudes

“An understanding of consumer attitudes toward sustainable products and lifestyles is important as we aim to double our consumer base to two billion by 2020, while at the same time significantly reducing the company’s impact on the environment,”​ said Pamela Gill Alabaster, senior vice president Sustainable Development for L’Oréal USA.

Earlier this month, the L’Oréal-owned Garnier brand announced a US partnership with TerraCycle to provide consumers with a comprehensive recycling solution for product packaging that cannot be disposed of in municipal waste streams.

TerraCycle collects post consumer waste through mail-in programs and recycles and upcycles empty personal care product packaging waste into new consumer products.

And the survey found the most common action that Americans are willing to take to reduce their individual carbon footprint is to recycle and reuse products (93 percent).

However, only 46 percent of individuals who responded to the survey said they were avid recyclers and 24 percent indicated that they only recycle products in their kitchen, echoing the point that cosmetics packaging is still not a priority when it comes to recycling.

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