Whole Foods, Google, Trader Joe's Among Consumers' Greenest

If you want to know which companies shoppers consider the greenest, look no further than a grocery store near you. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Wegmans, Fresh & Easy, Publix and MOMs have all made the list of the 35 companies that are the greenest, the best investments and the most recommendable by shoppers across the country.

That is just one of the findings of a new report entitled "The Corporate Reality of Consumer Perceptions." The report, published today by GreenBiz.com and researched and written by Amy Hebard and Wendy Cobrda of the applied marketing firm Earthsense.

This report stems from Earthsense's Eco-Insights Survey, which polled more than 30,000 individuals, trying to sketch out how green they perceive familiar companies to be. Results were ranked along four axes: how much the company has incorporated sustainability into its operations; how green are the products they produce or sell; how good of an investment does the company appear to be; and how likely is a person to recommend that company to friends or family.

In addition to the high number of supermarkets or grocery stores, the companies that scored high across one or more of these categories include a number of green consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, including Tom's of Maine, Burt's Bees, Green Mountain Coffee, Odwalla and Kashi, among others.

In a podcast interview posted today on GreenBiz Radio, the authors explain that these retail and CPG brands likely scored so well because shoppers have up-close and personal relationships with them, and as a result feel more knowledgeable about their level of greenness.

But other companies in the Earthsense 35 -- those that scored at or near the top of at least one of these categories of question -- have earned that ranking through effective communication of their green initiatives. Google and Yahoo are both highly ranked in the survey, albeit largely on the axis of sound investment strategy, but both companies are also engaged with greening their own operations as well as helping their customers take part in the environmental movement.

The report offers an in-depth exploration of the four categories of green performance: Company Earthsense, Product Earthsense, Investment Attractiveness, and Advocacy. It breaks down both where shoppers place these companies on the green spectrum, and offers some baseline questions for companies to ask themselves to gauge where they stand.

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