For young ‘trendsetting’ Americans, green is more about style then substance, a recent study by Outlaw Consulting suggests. Outlaw surveyed 100 “forward trendsetters” in NY, SF, LA, and Miami to create their 2008 Favorite Green Brands Index, asking the group to give their opinions on what makes a brand green and who they thought were today’s most environmentally conscious companies. The survey found that their trendsetter’s made a (sometimes false) correlation between brands that favored minimalist design – like Apple and Method – with green practices. At the top of their list of 15 were two brands whose eco-consciousness have been widely debated: Whole Foods (#1) and Trader Joe’s (#2). Sustainable Life Media comments:
…A large number of survey respondents put Apple in the “green” category due to the company’s simple, streamlined design approach – even though respondents weren’t sure of Apple’s specific environmental policies. (Other companies known for a minimal, clean aesthetic include Method, Google, American Apparel, The Container Store, IKEA, and Kiehls.)
…Regardless of design or messaging, the bottom line for young, environmentally conscious trendsetters still comes down to style, the report suggests. For example, trendsetters claimed that they would be more likely to consider sustainably produced clothing if the current offerings weren’t largely unfashionable or overpriced.
“[These young consumers] aren’t willing to spend top dollar on an environmental product, and they won’t compromise quality or style,” says Barbara Bylenga, founder and chief strategist of Outlaw Consulting. “Therefore, the brands they listed are not only those they merely see as green, but also those they see as relevant to their lifestyle and self-image.”
And yet, the study also points to the young influencers’ passion for the eco-movement and commending brands that have pushed the green movement forward in their industries, like Toyota (#3 on the list).
“Overall, we were struck by how passionate these consumers were about the topic,” says Bylenga. “To them, being green does not mean fringe or hippie or new-age – today it’s actually part of being hip and modern. The brands that made our list are being green in a way that resonates with this generation.”