Americans are dead last when it comes to environmentally-friendly consumer consumption, according to the 17 country “Greendex 2010: Consumer Choice and the Environment–A Worldwide Tracking Survey.” The National Geographic survey, in partnership with GlobeScan, is in its third year of monitoring and measuring 65 areas of consumer behavior in housing, transportation, food, and consumer goods–ranking countries according to their consumers’ environmental impact.
The top-scoring countries with sustainable-savvy consumers are India, Brazil, and China. Americans remain at the bottom, as they have since the survey began three years ago. We are in familiar company at the bottom, though, with Canada, France, and the U.K. right there with us.
Emerging countries, it seems, may have fewer bad habits than those in the industrialized countries in this survey.
Among the survey’s findings about American consumers:
• 55% reside in homes with seven or more rooms, similar to Australian, British, and Canadian consumers.
• 58% drive alone daily.
• 61% never use local public transportation.
• 26% walk or bike to their destinations regularly.
• 25% eat imported foods; only Chinese consumers eat imported foods less often.
Across all participating countries, it was found that two perceptions helped to suppress sustainable consumption: many were discouraged by “companies that make false claims about environmental impacts of their products” and by the many obstacles set up by governments and companies to prohibit action.
Consumers, says the survey, “want less talk and more action.”