Study: Green trails economy

SAN FRANCISCO: The economy has edged out the environment when it comes to consumers' concerns according to the 2008 Image Power Green Brands Survey.

SAN FRANCISCO: The economy has edged out the environment when it comes to consumers' concerns according to the 2008 Image Power Green Brands Survey.

However, the survey, conducted by three WPP agencies, shows that the issue is still an important one and communicators should continue their green work. While 75% of Americans now rank the economy as a bigger issue than the environment, 67% of respondents think the environment is in worse shape than it was five years ago.

Annie Longsworth, president of WPP agency Cohn & Wolfe San Francisco, encouraged PR pros to continue promoting environmental efforts, as the environment will continue to be a major issue for consumers. Branding company Landor Associates and research company Penn, Schoen & Berland were also involved in the survey.

"Don't change anything," Longsworth told PRWeek. "Companies looking at their environmental practices still have a long way to go."

PR can look to make the environment more relevant, focusing on industries that receive a lot of buzz, including healthcare and energy.

The survey also included a list of the brands known for environmental efforts, with Whole Foods, Burt's Bees, and Trader Joe's receiving high marks. Many companies on the list look to their employees for environmental help, Longsworth said, and the fact that the list didn't change much from the previous year shows the importance of consistency.

Environmental practices are also becoming important for recruiting. "Almost every study you see says graduates prioritize a company that has strong environmental strategies in place," Longsworth said.

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