16th July 2013 – According to a recent survey, most Europeans would be prepared to change their purchasing habits and buy more environmentally-friendly products, but many feel they lack information and distrust manufacturers’ environmental claims. The survey on the “Attitudes of Europeans towards building the single market for green products” indicates that more than three-quarters of respondents are willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly products if they were confident that the products are truly environmentally-friendly (77%). However, only slightly more than half of EU citizens feel informed (55%) about the environmental impacts of the products they buy and use.
A large majority of EU citizens believes that buying environmentally-friendly products can make a difference to the environment (89%) and that they are as effective as regular products (74%). Confidence that products labelled environmentally-friendly are less harmful to the environment is highest in Portugal (84%), Malta (82%), France (81%) and Belgium (81%). However, confidence is significantly lower in Germany (44%), Romania (46%) and the Netherlands (47%).
Just over half of EU citizens generally trust producers’ claims about the environmental performance of their products (52%), but a majority of Europeans do not trust companies’ reports on their own environmental performance (54%). EU citizens are most likely to believe that they have come across exaggerated or misleading statements in Romania (40%), Bulgaria (40%), Greece (39%) and Latvia (37%). This belief is least common in Malta (17%) and Estonia (20%). There is nonetheless strong support for obliging companies to publish reports on their overall environmental performance and the environmental performance of their products (69%).
Across the EU, two thirds of people (66%) would be willing to pay more for a product if its guarantee of reliability was extended to five years. More than nine out of ten respondents also think the expected lifespan of products should be indicated (92%). Almost half of all respondents had decided not to have a faulty product repaired in the past 12 months because the repair costs were too high (47%).
The survey was carried out in the 28 Member States of the European Union. Over 25,568 respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed via telephone in their mother tongue on behalf of the European Commission.
Source: EU Commission press release, 05/07/2013