Survey reveals China’s growing desire for green products

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According to 2012 DuPont research, Chinese consumers express greater confidence that green products are better for the environment than North American consumers who were surveyed in 2011.

When asked about their confidence that green products are better for the environment, 70 percent of Chinese consumers surveyed said they were either very or somewhat confident. A similar survey of North American consumers released in 2011, showed that 65 percent of Canadians and 60 percent of Americans were confident that green products are better for the environment.

The new survey released by DuPont revealed a growing understanding of green products among urban Chinese consumers and confidence in the environmental claims made by manufacturers of green products. The findings reflect the potential for green products in the world’s largest consumer market and how this demand could help China meet its sustainability targets, according to DuPont.

In the DuPont China Green Living Survey: Consumer Awareness and Adoption of Biobased Products, DuPont found that a majority of Chinese consumers are likely to purchase apparel, personal care, hygiene and household products made from biobased ingredients that offer environmental benefits. These “green” products use ingredients that are composed of biological or renewable agricultural materials, rather than synthetics, and are biodegradable. Since biobased ingredients, such as enzymes, often replace petroleum-based ingredients, they help reduce reliance on non-renewable resources, DuPont contends in its announcement.

While just four in 10 Chinese surveyed said they are very or somewhat familiar with green products, most urban Chinese consumers agree on the factors that make a product “green” and accept that biobased products meet the criteria. The findings also noted that higher-income Chinese consumers were more familiar with and receptive to green products as well as biobased products.

Characteristic                                 Percentage Who Agree it is Definitely or Likely Green

Contains recycled material                    84%
Made from renewable materials          84%
Use less energy to produce                    84%
Requires less energy to use at home    76%
Requires less water to use at home    74%
Use less water to produce                     73%

“The survey demonstrates a growing awareness and desire among urban Chinese consumers for green products that offer sustainability benefits,” said Jeremy Xu, vice president, global sales and applications, DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “Greater adoption of biobased products in China could help the country reduce its energy intensity and carbon emissions and advance a new era of green manufacturing.”

DuPont’s China survey also found that consumers are more apt than not to believe that biobased ingredients improve the quality of a product. For example, more than 60 percent of consumers said that biobased ingredients used in personal care products, personal hygiene and detergents would make the products better.

DuPont estimates the market in China for biobased ingredients used to make a range of commercial and industrial products is growing. Already in North America, there are more than 20,000 products made with biobased ingredients, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the BioPreferred Program to encourage the purchase and use of biobased products.

“Just like the United States, China has the opportunity to develop and promote products made with biobased ingredients as part of a strategy to reduce petroleum consumption, increase the use of renewable resources, better manage the carbon cycle and help contribute to reducing adverse environmental impacts,” said Ron Buckhalt, program manager, BioPreferred Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Chinese research is based on face-to-face, street intercept interviews conducted July 21–Aug. 6, 2012, by Environics Research (in collaboration with N-Dynamic Market Research) with 1,000 Chinese consumers in the following nine mainland cities — Beijing, Chengdu, Dalian, Huangshi, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Wuhan and Yinchuan — as well as Hong Kong.


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