Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Studies Offer Insight Into Conscious Consumers' Purchases & Investments

Two studies have recently been released that may be of interest to readers: the "BBMG Conscious Consumer Report" (a national survey on purchasing behavior and social values) and "Carbon Beta© and Equity Performance: Moving From Disclosure to Performance" (a study that evaluates the relationship between a companies' climate change plan and their financial performance).

Among the key findings of the BBMG Conscious Consumer Report (by BBMG):

  • Health and Safety is Most Important. Consumers’ most important issues are their personal health and safety, such as safe drinking water (90%), clean air (86%) and finding cures for diseases like cancer, AIDS and Alzheimers (84%). By comparison, only 63% describe global warming as the most or a very important issue.
  • Greater than Green. Americans readily self-identify as “conscious consumers” (88% well, 37% very well), “socially responsible” (88% well, 39%very well) and “environmentally-friendly” (86% well, 34% very well). Fewer respondents self-identify as “green” (65% well, 18% very well), which is viewed as more exclusive.
  • Beyond Convenience. When making purchases, convenience (34% very important) has been edged out by more socially relevant attributes: where a product is made (44% very important), how energy efficient it is (41% very important) and its health benefits (36% very important).
  • Most Socially Responsible Companies? Whole Foods Market (22%) tops the list of the survey’s most socially responsible companies, followed byNewman’s Own (19%), Wal-Mart (18%), Burt’s Bees (17%) and General Electric, Johnson & Johnson and Ben & Jerry’s (all 16%).

Another interesting report just released is "Carbon Beta© and Equity Performance: Moving From Disclosure to Performance" (by Innovest).

Among the study’s key findings:

  • Companies’ risk exposures to climate change varies widely, both between and even within different industry sectors and geographic regions
  • Companies with the most robust risk management architecture and ability to seize competitive opportunities on the upside have tended to out-perform their same-sector peers financially over the past three years
  • The “Carbon Beta© premium” for leading companies appears to be growing larger over time, as regulatory regimes tighten around the world
  • Non-verified, company-provided information provides an extremely poor and limited basis for actual investment decisions. More in-depth company research is clearly required

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