Monday, August 18, 2008

What's Greendex?

So, you've been "green" for awhile now. But, do you ever wonder how or if it's working?

National Geographic and the international polling firm GlobeScan have just conducted a study measuring and monitoring consumer progress toward environmentally sustainable consumption in 14 countries around the world.

From their website: "Why? We wanted to give people a better idea of how consumers in different countries are doing in taking action to preserve our planet by tracking, reporting, and promoting environmentally sustainable consumption and citizen behavior. This quantitative consumer study of 14,000 consumers in a total of 14 countries asked about such behavior as energy use and conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the relative use of green products versus traditional products, attitudes towards the environment and sustainability, and knowledge of environmental issues. A group of international experts helped us determine the behaviors that were most critical to investigate.

The result: the National Geographic/GlobeScan "Consumer Greendex," a scientifically derived sustainable consumption index of actual consumer behavior and material lifestyles across 14 countries. The Greendex will be tracked over time and will be comparable across the selection of countries representing both the developed and developing world.

To provide context for the Greendex results, we developed a "Market Basket", an index of actual consumption in four areas important to environmentally sustainable behavior-energy, transportation, travel, and consumer goods. A Market Basket for each country was assembled using a set of independently collected macroeconomic indicators, gathered by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which mirror, in part, the consumer behavior measured by the Greendex survey. The purpose of the Market Basket is to provide an external estimate of the results of changes in consumer behavior over time. The Greendex, for example, measures things consumers are doing to save energy in a country; the Market Basket measures whether total energy consumption in the country is actually going up or down. The Market Basket will also establish a framework for comparing the relative environmental impact of each country's size and rate of growth, over time."

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