Does buying green matter to customers?

5 Jan, 2015

Are consumers buying green? Do they make a conscious decision to choose eco-friendly products over their traditional counterparts? And if so how can businesses take advantage of this?

The evidence suggests that consumers, particularly Millennials are increasingly prepared to make green choices for their purchases.

The consultancy, Accenture predicts that by 2020 there will be 80 million Millennials in the United States, responsible for 30 per cent of all retail purchases.

Adults from this age group (born after 1990) consistently cite the environment and sustainability as key elements in their buying decisions. Therefore it is likely that over time green choices will become the norm.

It is probably true to say that this trend has already started. In recent years you may have noticed the environmental tint to much of the product promotion you see in the media; on television, in newspapers and online.

The reason for this is that marketers understand that consumers want to feel that when they buy a product or service they are doing good at the same time.

More than just a product or service they are buying a lifestyle. Companies are keen to push their sustainability credentials, particularly through formal certification such as ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, because they know it forms part of their customers’ buying decisions.

What influences green decisions?

buyResearchers at the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) conducted an experiment to investigate this question and to understand why consumers might make green choices. They presented participants with a choice between a luxury product and a green alternative.

Three types of product were tested – a washing machine, household detergent and a car. The researchers wanted to look at people’s choices for products at different ends of the price scale.

The research showed, somewhat surprisingly that the majority of people chose the green alternative. The reason for this may have been related to a psychological phenomenon known as competitive altruism, where people vie to be the ‘most good’.

The price of products made less of a difference than one might think – when the price of eco alternatives was raised it only increased their popularity.

Researchers have also found that when buying decisions are made out in the open in the presence of others, people are more likely to choose the ‘responsible’ option. Possibly this is because of the social pressure people feel to ‘do the right thing’.

There may be a lesson for businesses here in terms of advertising their green credentials, where this can appeal to customers who want to be seen to be going green.

An effective way businesses can leverage the green effect is to promote their sustainable credentials through ISO certification.

The ISO 14001 Environmental Management System provides organisations with a systematic and process driven approach that helps to manage the business’s environmental impact.

Having the certification in place and advertising this fact can win over customers across the board.

ISO 14001 can be achieved by any business of any size, in any given sector so as to prove to your stakeholders, customers and staff that you are aware of your environmental obligations and are looking to reduce your environmental impact.

For more information regarding the ISO 14001 Environment Management System and/or training, please visit the related page on our website HERE. Alternatively, any questions can be sent to

ISO Quality Services Ltd are proud to specialise in the implementation and certification of the Internationally recognised ISO and BS EN Management Standards.

Primarily working with clients throughout the whole of the UK and Ireland, ISO Quality Services Ltd also cover Europe and the UAE.

Do you want to get ahead of your competition? Win more tenders or save time and money on reoccurring issues? Contact us today!

ISO 14001

ISO Quality Services Ltd are proud to specialise in the implementation and certification of the Internationally recognised ISO and BS EN Management Standards.

Do you want to get ahead of your competition? Win more tenders or save time and money on reoccurring issues? Contact us today on 0330 058 5551 or email

Alternatively, you can request a quote by filling out our enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

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