Customers Indifferent to Green Gadgets

Manufacturers of green electrical goods will today be urged to boost efforts to communicate the environmental benefits of their products, after a new study suggested many customers do not fully grasp the advantages associated with eco features.

A research paper released today by the government-backed Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found that many customers fail to look at the environmental credibility of electrical goods, such as mobile phones and washing machines, when making purchasing decisions.

The study used a series of focus groups to analyse consumer attitudes to seven electrical and household appliances and found that "participants had a very low level of understanding about eco products in general and a narrow view on what it can mean in an electrical product."

The report's authors urged electronics manufacturers to step up efforts to challenge the myth that environmental features such as increased repairability, energy efficiency and recycled content compromise quality.

A spokeswoman for WRAP told that firms need to clearly state how the green credentials of many products can benefit the customer, for example through lower energy bills or improved durability.

She added that green electronics manufacturers also had to work to push environmental issues higher up the list of priorities for customers. "A product with a clear [environmental] benefit but low brand recognition may need to work harder to convince the consumer how they will benefit," she said.

WRAP is working with a number of leading manufacturers, such as electronics giant Samsung, to bolster consumer awareness of green goods. High-tech products such as mobile phones, televisions and laptops are of particular concern as they are bought in large quantities and have a high material impact, the advisory group said.

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