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2010 Green Gap Index Released May 31, 2010 Introduction CANADIAN GREEN GAP INDEX The main objective of this study is to understand the “gap” between Canadians’ environmental actions and their perceptions of being environmentally conscious.

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2010 green gap index

2010 Green Gap Index

Released May 31, 2010

canadian green gap index
  • The main objective of this study is to understand the “gap” between Canadians’ environmental actions and their perceptions of being environmentally conscious.
  • The following environmental behaviours were examined:
    • Fuel conservation and lowering of emissions;
    • Energy conservation in the home;
    • Environmental consciousness when it comes to purchasing consumer goods;
    • Recycling;
    • Reusing of materials to reduce waste; and
    • Food and household goods
canadian green gap index4
  • In addition, this year’s study has examined consumers’ perceptions of Green Leaders in a number of retailer categories:
    • Car manufacturers or dealers
    • Grocery stores
    • Clothing stores
    • Coffee shops
    • Fast food restaurants
    • Consumer electronics
    • Hotels
    • Home improvement stores
overall insights
  • Older Canadians, namely those over 55, consistently demonstrate actions that are more environmentally conscious. Though these actions represent a smaller gap from their perceptions, a gap still remains
  • Surprisingly, the younger Canadian demographic, those under 35, are taking slightly less action, but admit it – giving them the smallest Green Gap. This is partly due to their demographic life cycle and therefore fewer are responsible for home energy bills and fuel consumption decisions in the household.
  • Canadians as a whole are indicating that they ‘believe’ they are participating and want to do their part for the environment, but the actions they’re willing to take have only minimal impact on their existing behaviours and the environment.

Canadians May Feel They are Reusing More Frequently, But Their Actions Have Not Changed

Average on Four Point Scale

  • Though ‘reuse’ behaviours are demonstrating the smallest green gap of 12% between actions and perception, there is strong indication that this gap is understated.
  • 72% of respondents say they ‘always’, or ‘most of the time’ use a reuseable drinking container – this is down from 2009, but still overstated. Simply observing public garbage bins or the line up at your local coffee shop would indicate that there is a much larger green gap.
  • One reason for such incongruities between Canadians’ green assertions and actions could be that Canadians believe that by simply owning a reusable drinking cup and perhaps using it once or twice contributes to their green lifestyle.

The home appliances I purchase are certified Energy Star and/or a high-efficiency model

Many Canadians Take Steps To Reduce Home Energy Use Rather than Look for Alternative Methods


The home appliances I purchase are certified Energy Star and/or a high efficiency model

Canadians Have Not Changed Their Home Energy Consumption Practices or Perceptions

Average on Four Point Scale

energy conservation
  • Though the green gap related to home energy use is not the widest recorded, an 18% gap remains significant given the continued efforts of utilities to engage the public on energy efficiency
  • Canadians have greater awareness of energy efficiency but only participate in actions that do not require any real change or effort in their existing behaviours
  • Canada has a long way to go to increase Canadians purchase of energy efficient products and make energy efficiency enhancements to their homes as only half of Canadians say they are taking the action most of the time or all of the time
  • Ontarians are lagging in regulating the temperature in their homes
  • Women over 35 feel they are doing more to save energy in 2010, but their actions are same as men and younger Canadians
green leadership insights
  • Respondents were asked to name a green leader in eight sectors:
    • Automotive, Grocery, Home Electronics, Home Improvement, Coffee Shops, Fast Food, Hotels, Clothing stores
  • Overall, a strong majority of Canadians couldn’t name a corporate green leader or don’t believe that any company is ‘green’, providing opportunities for any competitors
  • The only category where Canadians were willing to demonstrate a significant leadership was in the car manufacturer/dealer -- naming Toyota (16% of respondents) , citing hybrid solutions and fuel efficient options as the reasons why
  • An average of 5% felt a company was green in part because of its advertising messages
  • Highest reasons for believing a company was green linked to making it easier for consumers to act



Home Improvement Green Leadership

Responses Under 5% not included



For detail on how to bridge the Green Gap:Ersilia Serafini Nick CowlingCEO, Summerhill VP, Optimum PReserafini@summerhillgroup.canick.cowling@cossette.com