Conscious Consumers

BBMG provides us with yet another segmen­tation about the buying concerns of U. S. con­sumers, but it focuses more on overall social values and not merely those of environmental concerns. This difference starts to provide a more complete picture of buying values across a wider spectrum of issues. Like the two cited previously, their four segments represent vary­ing degrees of behavior and concerns around environmental issues. For example, the top segment last year (2007) represents only 10 percent of consumers, instead of the 30 per­cent quoted by the Green Gauge Report:

• 10% Enlighteneds (who make a point to reward companies along social and environ­mental goals)

• 20% Aspirationals (balance their values with convenience and price)

• 30% Practicals (prioritize price, quality, an...


Green Gauge

Another segmentation, Green Gauge, comes from GfK Roper Consulting, and it describes five groups, based on their buying behavior around environmental concerns (see Figure 18.1). This is probably the longest-running sur­vey of “green” perceptions, and it has shown


FIGURE 18.1. /И http://flickr. com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/3273317718

The Green Gauge market segments.

a lot of change just in the past three years (fol­lowing very little change in the proceeding decade).


30% True Blue Greens (most committed)

10% Greenback Greens (interested but not always willing to spend more)

26% Sprouts (undecided about environmen­tal issues)

15% Grousers (view environmental issues as too big or complicated to do anything about) 18% Apathetics (not interested in environ­mental issues)




The LOHAS segment comes from an industry group by the same name. It segments consum­ers into five groups, based on the degree of their commitment to sustainability issues when purchasing products and services:

• 17% LOHAS (the most committed consumers)

• 21% Naturalites (concerned most of the time, especially for natural and organic foods, but less involved with other practices)

• 19% Drifters (concerned occasionally, with good intentions, but price and other factors regularly outweigh environmental concerns)

• 20% Conventionals (mostly not concerned but curious, and involved with some prac­tices, such as recycling)

• 21% Unconcerned (not concerned at all or actively against sustainability)


Declaring Results


Green Gauge 452

Conscious Consumers 455

Cultural Creatives 457

What is Marketing? 458

What to say (and Not) 463


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f results are so difficult to measure, how can we begin to declare them?

This is an important question, and it’s at the heart of those charging organizations with “greenwashing.” As we’ve seen, the issues are complex and often counterintuitive. In order to make reasonable claims, it’s important to ar­ticulate benefits carefully and clearly within the context of the audience we address.

There are many different ways of describing the market for sustainable products, services, brands, and messaging...


Reveal Rating System

I’ve learned a lot about rating and labeling sys­tems working on my own solution. Beginning in 2002, I started designing label solutions for making the complex criteria involved across the sustainability spectra clear for consumers in a shopping environment. My aim was to make it easy to compare products and services in the same categories, while still being informative and imparting a sense of validity to the data presented. Over the next four years, I developed a series of labels to do just this—the Reveal Rating system (named by a colleague at school), as shown in Figure 17.2. In addition, while at


LEFT IMAGE: /Я http://flickr. com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/3273315644

RIGHT IMAGE: /И http://flickr. com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/3272513385

figure 17.2

The Reveal system is designed...


Label Types

Type I labels are product seals licensed by gov­ernments or third-party private entities based on a multitude of criteria or impact. For ex­ample, the U. S.-based Green Seal or Sweden’s Nordic Swan Type I seals can vary substan­tially in their criteria, which may or may not be known or understood by customers.

Type II labels are informative, self-declared seals about the environmental qualities of a product, such as “contains 75 percent recycled paper.”

Type III labels offer quantified product infor­mation based on a life cycle assessment. These labels are best for comparisons between prod­ucts or services. There are few examples of Type III labels in use. One in development is the Reveal label.

Type IV labels are single-issue seals licensed by companies or organizations...


Other Ratings and Metrics

There is a lot of hope for creating far-reaching standards for rating and labeling of products and services along sustainability criteria. Some standards focus only on the environmental as­pects, some only on the social and governance

criteria, some attempt to comingle them, and others hope to allow customers to mix their own ratios. For all of the interest in this area, the development is slow-going, partly due to the inherent complexity and partly because, although it seems that everyone wants to use these systems, it’s decidedly not sexy in com­parison to investments in “clean energy” and other sustainability innovations.

Some of the existing systems created for con­sumers include the following:

• alonovo. com (one of the oldest, having started in 2005)

• goodguide. com

• b...


Balanced Scorecard

In 1993, Robert S. Kaplan, a professor at Harvard, and David P. Norton created the Balanced Scorecard approach to measuring corporate performance. Beginning with the publishing of their book, six years later, this became a rapidly adopted and popular ap­proach. In particular, their approach was de­signed to measure financial (and some human) capital performance against corporate strategies and mission. This was one of the early attempts to align corporate strategies with corporate missions in a way that could be measured nu­merically and continuously in terms of dollars.

The Balanced Scorecard[79] measures perfor­mance in four main areas:

• Financial (Are the organization’s strategies and tactics creating financial value?)

Cash Flow, ROI, ROE, etc.

• Customer (Do the organization’s...


Global Reporting Framework

One of the most popular sustainability mea­sures, at least for social and governance issues in corporate policy, is the Global Reporting Framework.[76] This standard, defined by the Global Reporting Initiative, is one of the few widely-recognized frameworks for reporting corporate-level policies. Covive, a San Francis­co-based design firm, has created an excellent summary of this framework that clarifies many pages of documentation.[77] (See Figure 3.23 on page 99)

The GRI Framework lists criteria in six catego­ries, such as the following:

• Environmental (materials, energy, water, biodiversity, emissions, effluents and waste, products and services, compliance, and transport)

• Human Rights (investment and procure­ment practices, nondiscrimination, freedom of association and collectiv...



Global Reporting Framework 433

Balanced scorecard 435

other ratings and metrics 436

Label types 440

reveal rating system 443


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s we learned in the discussion of frame­works in Chapter з (especially for LCA and SROI), not only are there no standards of measuring sustainability prog­ress, but also where there are mechanisms in development, the data and process are quite difficult to decipher (as with a deep Life Cycle Assessment).

This leaves developers at a loss as to how to weigh alternatives, and it leaves customers at a loss as to how to choose between them. In ad­dition, it makes it difficult for organizations to track their progress.

Where the best measur...