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For Conservatives ‘Going Green’ Is Worse Than Losing Money, Study Says

May 1, 2013

dontsavememoneyI recently trekked to Omaha, Nebraska to attend a big event for my husband’s family. Despite the fact that every member of the Omaha clan are die-hard Republicans, we had a wonderful time. Of course we had our differences: for instance, none of them would even recycle an aluminum can, but at least they seemed a bit embarrassed about it. So we politely avoided the topic of politics. They are extremely warm, funny and kind people; and a good time was had by all.

Coming home I even thought for a minute that I could now try a little harder to understand the other side as people with legitimate points of view and realms of experience which just happen to be  different from my own. And then this report found my inbox.

Conservatives are less likely to purchase products labelled as environmentally friendly, according to research published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“A popular strategy for marketing energy efficiency is to focus on its environmental benefits,” Dena Gromet of the University of Pennsylvania, the lead author of the study, explained. “But not everyone values protecting the environment. We were interested in whether promoting the environment could in fact deter some individuals from purchasing energy efficient options that they would have otherwise selected.”  (Raw Story)

Essentially, what the study found was that the majority of conservatives would actually make a conscious decision to avoid any product which promotes itself as good for the environment — even when its use carried obvious economic benefit.

“These findings demonstrate that a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to be successful for making energy-efficient products appealing to consumers,” Rick Larrick of Duke University, a co-author of the study, remarked. “People have different energy-related values which can influence their choices, including leading them to reject options that they recognize as having long-term economic benefits. In many cases, a tailored message may be needed to reach different market segments.”

That’s right: if the item in question made economic sense, conservatives were just as likely as liberals to make the purchase — unless the item also carried a ‘green’ label extolling the  environmental  benefits of the item. In that case, conservatives would take the economic hit and choose the less energy-efficient product.

The purpose of the study was to point out the need for awareness that marketing energy-efficient products as such could be counter-productive in getting conservatives to adopt their use. Okay, fine. That’s a practical consideration, if your goal is simply the adoption of energy-efficient technology. But what if your goal is to not live in a world of a**holes who seem to  always be giving Mother Earth the finger? It would seem that political polarization over the issue of carbon reduction has made that nearly impossible.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. E.A. Blair permalink
    May 1, 2013 10:27 am

    You can see this in politics as well. How many times have Republicans abandoned a position because it was adopted by the Democratic side?

    They don’t like just giving Mothe Earth the finger. They like giving everybody the finger. Click on this link for one of my favorite recent examples

  2. t1theinfamous permalink
    May 1, 2013 9:39 am

    If I can save a dollar,I’ll save it regardless of where the product comes from.

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