Americans Ditch Earth Day But Still Hold Brands Accountable

Some good news, some bad in Horizon Media survey.

Unfortunately, new research from Horizon Media shows us that Earth Day is no longer as powerful as it once was…which might explain the dearth of related pitches in our inbox.

At the same time, the trend also means that consumers are quicker to call brands out on “green” claims. According to the Horizon release, sentiments have shifted greatly even since last year:

  • In 2014, 27 percent of Americans said they would “celebrate” Earth Day
  • The number dropped to 23 percent this year

The number who consider it an “important holiday” also dropped significantly, from more than 90 percent to 79 percent.

It would even seem that Americans are less concerned about the environmental practices of the companies competing for their money:

The number of participants who said they prefer to buy from companies that “align themselves with environmental causes” dropped from 56 percent to 40 percent.

At the same time, the number of respondents who say they recycle, etc. has stayed the same.

From Kirk Olson, VP of TrendSights at Horizon Media:

“The mainstreaming of ‘green’ has made environmentalism more ordinary, but it has also created a savvy public more primed to dig up dirt that belies corporate intentions. That means even the best event integrations or sponsorship plans could backfire if company behavior doesn’t match the cause.”

A quick review of the hashtag #greenwashing or the “Greenwashing Index” bears that out.

It’s not that we’re less concerned about our planet. It’s that we expect businesses to do more of the work on our behalf. Among those who still love Earth Day, though, here are the most important things companies can do:

  • Plant trees (61 percent)
  • Donate to environmental causes (51 percent)
  • Sell environmentally friendly products (51 percent)

Hmm. Not sure we’ve thought this through…