Supermarkets leading the green revolution

Supermarkets may be getting a hard time these days, but their environmental efforts seem to be paying off...

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Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

A new report on Britain’s top 50 green brands has discovered that Britain’s top supermarkets are considered to be among the ‘greenest’ brands in the UK, with Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Tesco and Asda taking five of the top six places. According to the report, produced by Cohn & Wolfe PR, Landor Associates and PSB following a survey of over 1,500 UK consumers, only the Body Shop – which took top spot as usual – spoiled their greenwash.

Most of these big supermarkets have launched environmental initiatives – such as charging for plastic bags – in a drive to become greener. And it’s clear why: 75% of consumers suggest that buzzwords like ‘recyclable’, ‘renewable’ and so on have a strong impact on their buying habits. What’s more, a fifth said that industry should be responsible for initiating environmental change - another big hint to the supermarkets.

Indeed, the study found that British consumers are a very environmentally-conscious bunch, with many of us very concerned about issues of waste and recycling:  24% said that waste generated by individuals or corporations was the most important green issue of the day. And packaging seems to be a major concern: 94% think that groceries are over-packaged, while half choose to buy products with less (or at least recyclable) packaging. We sincerely hope that the days when you need a MENSA membership - or some kind of power tool - to open a packet of shrink-wrapped apples will soon be at an end.

On the other hand, only 15% of shoppers rated climate change as the top green issue of the day, down from 40% in 2007.  What happened to the British obsession with the weather…..?

And just to prove that consumer green power can affect the biggest of beasts, word reaches us from the US that General Motors is reviewing the future of that gas-guzzling monster, the Hummer. In the US, sales have plunged due to the rocketing cost of ‘gas’; only 12,243 Hummers were sold in the States in the first four months of 2008, 29% down on last year’s figure. GM is now considering offloading the business and focusing its attentions on gas-electric hybrids instead.

Since it carries a price tag of about £30,000, and only does 15 miles to the gallon, it’s amazing Hummers have survived as long as they have. Especially as some famous fans have already given up on them – including California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who once owned a fleet (or should that be herd?) of the things. Let’s hope that unlike Arnie, they won’t be back.

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