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Study: China Has More Socially Conscious Consumers Than US

China’s government isn’t alone in its endeavor to crack down on the country’s pollution and protect its water resources. A recent study by market research group GfK revealed that Chinese consumers are among the most environmentally conscious in the world.

GfK surveyed more than 28,000 people in 23 countries and found that 80 percent of respondents in China believe brands have a responsibility toward the environment. By comparison, only 66 percent of U.S. shoppers agree.

Similarly, 70 percent of Chinese consumers say they feel guilty when they do something that’s not environmentally sound and 72 percent only buy products and services that appeal to their beliefs, compared with only 53 percent of Americans admitting green guilt and 54 percent allowing their ideals to dictate their purchasing habits.

While there is no evidence that Chinese consumers are willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly products, GfK pointed out this could change if companies promote the health and safety benefits of going green.

“Consumers seldom pay to assuage their conscience, but invariably do when they see a clear and meaningful benefit,” said Ashok Sethi, managing director of GfK Consumer Experiences in China. “Chinese consumers will pay if they feel that the premium that they pay today will create better and safer world for their children tomorrow.”

Elsewhere in the study, India came out on top: 94 percent of consumers want companies to be environmentally responsible and only buy products that align with their beliefs, and 85 percent feel guilty when they indulge in environmentally unfriendly behavior.