For Hispanics and moms, greener attitudes and behaviors are based on personal experience

For Hispanics and moms, greener attitudes and behaviors are based on personal experience

This demographic group believes in caring for the environment because they have seen the consequences of being careless with natural resources.

Each year we host qualitative interviews, exercises and discussions with consumers in support of our quantitative Pulse studies. This qualitative work helps us dig deeper into answers we’re seeing in our surveys and offers an opportunity to explore new issues we might want to test in a Pulse survey. One such group we’ve been tracking closely is Hispanics.

We’ve always seen in our studies that Hispanics, now numbering 52 million in the United States, index higher for propensity to purchase green products and adopt green behaviors.

In recent years we’ve seen this likelihood grow even higher, definitely outweighing Caucasians and other groups.

In a focus group made up exclusively of Hispanics, we asked why this is.

Why are Hispanics greener?

We’ve long theorized that Hispanic culture is more family-centric. Perhaps “preserving the Earth for future generations” is something they take to heart.

Turns out that’s a piece of it, but the bigger issue is simply that they’ve lived with environmental challenges and/or someone in their family is living with those challenges right now.

This group talked very pragmatically and confidently about simply “doing their part” based on growing up in areas of the world where they walked more often than they drove, purchased vegetables straight from a local farmer and had limited brands/options to choose from in a variety of product categories.

They didn’t seem bothered by experiencing a simpler lifestyle, by the way. That’s just how it was, and even though they live in a different culture today with multiple options available, they seem to carry that pragmatism and expectation of living conservatively off the Earth with them.

A few of the participants were able to talk very knowledgeably about water-shortage issues, citing relatives who live in places today where they’re running out of water or, in one case, where “the water has turned black.”

If you’ve lived it or seen it, it’s tangible.

This tangibility – having lived in close contact with environmental problems, seen them with their own two eyes and/or been close to someone who sees them every day – is key to their attitude.

They’re not just thinking, “Hey, we should do the right thing for our kids and grandkids.” They think, “This is happening right now, and we all need to do something about it.”

Immediately following our Hispanic focus group, we conducted a group with young moms – all Caucasians and African-Americans, with no Hispanics – and the contrast in attitudes and beliefs was striking.

Yet one common theme emerged: The moms who had kids with asthma or food allergies were a lot more knowledgeable about sustainability issues and far more wired to “do their part.”

Again, it’s tangible: Their kids are suffering now, just like some folks’ relatives in Central and South America are suffering now, so it’s imperative to do something now.

If we can’t see it, it’s hard to believe it. The need for consumers to “see it” is a key idea to successfully marketing green products.


Posted on

August 20, 2013

About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

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