A Eurobarometer report, carried out across social and demographic groups in all 28 EU countries, concludes that some 80% of Europeans are concerned by the environmental impact of their purchases. Even so only 25% say, they “often” buy green products. Only a slim majority, 54% of the 25,000 respondents, say they "sometimes" buy environmentally-friendly products. Although about half of Europeans would be willing to change their purchasing habits for environmental reasons, they feel a lack of information and distrust against manufacturers’ green claims. 77% of respondents claimed not being confident that the products were truly green.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik believes better labelling could help to foster the purchase of more environmentally-friendly products. As they are generally more expensive, incentives need to be set to get consumers to go green. The current situation regarding green products is “not good for consumers, and it is not rewarding those companies that are really making an effort”, comments Potočnik.
ANEC, the European consumer interest group on standardisation, is not surprised by the results as "The survey confirms what is known regarding consumers being confused by the number of environmental claims that can be found on the EU market, as well as about their reliability and clarity.” ANEC added critically that "labelling/product information is often not the right way forward to achieve sustainable consumption and should, on the contrary, be considered carefully. It has been shown that priority must be given to the establishment of regulatory product requirements - such as those we have in the Ecodesign, Energy Labelling Directives and the Ecolabel Regulation - ensuring that poor performing products are eliminated from the market."
Eurobarometer report: Attitudes of Europeans towards building the single market for green products: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/flash/fl_367_sum_en.pdf
Single Market for Green Products Initiative: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/smgp/index.htm