Mar 16, 2009
"Paper materials" are perceived to be good for the environment but the high recycling rates for
"cans" and "plastic bottles" are surprisingly unknown
Consumers want easy-to-understand messages
Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. (hereafter Toppan Printing; Head office: Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo; President & CEO: Naoki Adachi) has carried out a follow-up survey on women’s behavior and attitudes towards ecology.
This survey is a follow-up to the survey on women’s behavior and attitudes towards ecology that was carried out in February 2008. The survey was performed with the objective of developing and improving ecology products from the consumers’ perspective. In particular, this was a follow-up survey on attitudes at the end of September 2008, which was after the holding of the Toyako Summit in the year that marked the start of the first commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol.
Participants in the survey were women chosen from a wide range of ages from their 20s to their 60s. The survey investigated these women’s level of interest in ecology, ecological measures taken in their everyday lives, and their use of ecological products and services.
The main findings of the survey were as follows:
*Awareness of consideration for the environment is definitely increasing and it is normal to lead a lifestyle with consideration for the environment.
*People want to contribute by purchasing products and services that show consideration for the environment in their everyday lives.
*There is a possibility that people lose the desire to purchase products because information about their environmental friendliness is not communicated well.
*Paper materials are perceived to be good for the environment, but despite the fact that the recycling rate for cans and plastic bottles is actually high there is little awareness that these are materials that are good for the environment.
*The image of companies that contribute to the environment is significantly influenced by directly demonstrating consideration for the environment through product contents, packaging, and promotional activities. It is important for companies to clearly communicate their environmentally friendly approach.
This survey was supervised by Mika Takaoka, Associate Professor at Rikkyo University’s College of Business.
Toppan Printing will continue to carry out surveys on consumer attitudes and use the results as basic data for planning and improving products and services from the consumers’ perspective.
Date : September 24 to 25, 2008
Survey area : Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture, Saitama Prefecture
Method : Closed survey via the internet
Total number of participants : n=400
Participants : Women from their 20s to their 60s (including students)
Extract from survey results
Interest in ecology
*Interest in ecology has increased in the last 3 years. Particular increase has been in the last 6 months to a year
The period in which interest in ecology increased was within the last 3 years for 56% of participants. Compared with the last survey (first half of 2008), the number of people responding that their interest has increased in the last 6 months to a year has increased 7%.
*To have an interest, it is important to be able to get a sense of ecology in one’s everyday life
People’s interest in ecology was often prompted by factors linked to their lifestyles such as "a sense of unusual weather (60%)", "watching a news program or film (41%)", and "separation of rubbish becoming stricter (38%)". Political elements such as the "Toyako Summit (4%)" stimulated news and initiatives by companies but were not a significant factor in directly attracting the interest of consumers.
Consciousness of contributing to ecology
*Desire to contribute to ecology is increasing. A lifestyle that shows consideration for the environment is becoming commonplace.
In each age group there is an increasing feeling of there being "something I can do to contribute (85%)". In comparison with the previous survey, this awareness has increased by 5%. People gave positive responses concerning the image of themselves contributing to ecology, such as "commonplace(18%)" and "cool, stylish (15%)".
*I want to contribute with things that can be done easily in my everyday life such as by buying products that are good for the environment
With regard to ecological activities, around half of participants responded positively that they were "willing to bear some inconvenience (65%)" in order to contribute. Many people said that they wanted to contribute with things that can be done easily in their everyday life (86%). In particular, there was a strong trend for people wanting to offer "support by purchasing the products of companies that are proactive in ecology (52%)" as opposed to "contributing by participating in an organization that undertakes environmental initiatives (24%)".
Popular ecological products
*The eco-products for which use is expected to increase are rechargeable batteries, personal chopsticks and energy saving home appliances
Concerning ecological products, the items that people have bought in the past include "eco-bags (68%)", "personal drinking flasks (39%)", and "bicycles (37%)". Products that people want to purchase in the future included "rechargeable batteries (32%)", "eco-bags (30%)", "energy saving home appliances (30%)" and "personal chopsticks (28%)". Among these, responses concerning "rechargeable batteries", "personal chopsticks" and "energy saving home appliances" featured more as items that people want to buy than as items people have already bought and therefore an increase in use can be anticipated in the future.
*Products that enable a reduction of waste are popular
"A reduction of waste is possible (28%)" was by far the most popular reason for buying (food products) from an ecological perspective. Specifically, participants appreciate items that can be reused (used again / refilled) and reproduced (paper containers / can be recycled). Items that are organic, additive free or pesticide free (5%), and domestically and locally produced products (1%) were mentioned but the ratio of respondents citing these was low.
*Paper and bottles have an image of being environmentally friendly. Cans and plastic bottles, which have high recycle rates, are not rated highly.
Packages with good ecological images included "paper materials (milk cartons 65%, paper boxes 55%, paper cups 54%)", and "bottles (56%)". Next was "cans (aluminum 36%, steel 26%)" and "plastic bottles (25%)" but around 50% of respondents said that they "can not say either way" regarding each of these items. Cans and plastic bottles in fact have high recycling rates (*1), but it seems consumers have an image of them being bad for the environment. Rating of "plastic containers (7%)" and "retort bags (6%)" was extremely low.
Way of communicating ecology
*Direct and easy-to-understand communication is necessary for improving corporate image
With regards to companies with an image of contributing to ecology, companies engaging in easy-to-understand communication featured at the top of the rankings. Companies that offer products with consideration for the environment in their manufacturing and packaging, companies that implement promotions such as enabling cooperation with carbon offsetting through buying a product, and companies that communicate their environmental approach through television commercials featured in responses.
*The fragrances that most convey a sense of ecology are those of forests and vegetation. Following this is no fragrance
The fragrances that most convey a sense of ecology were considered to be "forests and vegetation (54%)". Next was "no fragrance is best (6%)". Responses also included "herbs", "soap", and "floral".
Steel can recycle rate:85.1%(FY2007 survey by the Japan Steel Can Recycling Association)
Aluminum can recycle rate: 92.7%(FY2007 survey by the Japan Aluminum Can Recycling Association)
PET plastic bottle recycle rate: 69.2%(FY2007 survey by the Council for PET Bottle Recycling)
Copyright 2009 TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD.