Mark Dolliver: Not So Young

Young adults talk the environmentalist talk, but Yankelovich polling finds older adults more likely to walk the walk. Respondents were asked if they’ve made various “green upgrades” to their homes, and people classified as “Matures” (i.e., those even older than the baby boomers) were more apt than Gen Xers to have made most of them.

Some examples: 72 percent of Matures, vs. 45 percent of Xers, said they’ve lowered the temperature setting on their hot-water heaters; 65 percent of Matures, vs. 48 percent of Xers, have replaced incandescent lights with energy-saving bulbs; 53 percent of Matures, vs. 27 percent of Xers, have put in double-pane windows. Matures are also more likely than Xers (34 percent vs. 22 percent) to have used organic or all-natural weed-control products.

A report by Information Resources Inc. notes a similar skew in attention to environmental “sustainability” when consumers choose packaged goods: “Though contrary to assumptions that the focus on sustainability is a more youth-oriented phenomenon, IRI data shows that older consumers are actually the more likely audience to weigh multiple sustainability factors in their purchases.” Precisely because older folks’ green stewardship tends to go unheralded, they’d likely respond eagerly to brands that acknowledge their superior performance in this area.