Consumers still want to buy green despite the current economic climate, with 62 per cent of consumers saying environmental concerns influence their purchasing decisions 'the same as a year ago', according to new data from the UK government.
And boosting demand further, the YouGov 2000 person poll found that two thirds of consumers say it is important to buy from environmentally responsible companies, with one in seven voting with their feet by opting not to buy from a company based on their environmental reputation.
"We believe companies that take real action will seize the dual benefits of immediate cost savings and a stronger reputation, which is good for business," said Harry Morrison, head of the Carbon Trust Standard.
Set up in 2001 by the UK government, the Carbon Trust aims to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, working with industry and organisations to slash carbon emissions and to develop commercial low carbon technologies.
And in terms of demand, it appears the food and drink industry is at the front of the queue.
"We've been approached by more than 200 companies who want to work with us, and the bulk of interest is coming from food and beverage companies," Euan Murray, carbon footprinting general manager at the Carbon Trust said to BakeryandSnacks.com.
Taking the green route for cost savings
In parallel to improving a firm's green credentials, a hard analysis of the carbon intensity of its supply chain can also provide cost savings.
"Walkers have reaped the benefit of cost savings from cutting their energy bills," commented Murray.
Three years ago Walkers crisp firm, part of PepsiCo, became the first food firm the trust worked with to reduce their footprint, and last month the firm's carbon savings were the first to be rubber-stamped by the new PAS 2050 standard.
In terms of cost savings, the firm reported that the 7 per cent carbon reduction it achieved had saved the company more than £400,000 (€450, 000) over the past two years, which the firm has re-invested in future energy saving projects.
The power of green words
The YouGov survey, carried out in late February 2009, revealed that while consumers look to a range of indicators to understand whether or not a company is environmentally responsible, 38 per cent of respondents said the most important criteria they rely on are what they actually read in the media.
Further, thirty-four per cent felt that third party endorsement or accreditation was a further crucial criteria.
And as a warning to firms tempted to 'greenwash', the poll found that the least popular factor consumers use to judge whether a company is behaving in an environmentally responsible manner is what advertising tells them.