Corporate / Design & Technology
A look at “green consumption” patterns in the 21st century February 1st, 2008
By Jung-Ae Hwang
Trend Research Team
Green consumption has become widespread in all facets of our lives. In line with this trend, there is growing interest in environmentally friendly cars. While “environmentally friendly” is a familiar term, “green consumption” is lesser known and may take various forms. We classified green consumption patterns into six categories.
① An “environmental enhancer” tries to consume products that do not generate pollutants under the belief that active efforts should be made to protect and improve the environment. Natural burial, like under trees, is a good example of practicing environmental stewardship until the very end.
② A “health-oriented consumer” seeks to protect oneself and one’s family from environmental pollution. The use of an air purifier to create a clean home indicates that a person is sensitive to issues that directly affect his/her health and the wellbeing of family members.
③ A “mental-oriented consumer” derives satisfaction by moving away from a polluted setting and creating healthy surroundings. Specifically, the person may choose interior designs or furniture featuring nature as the motif for the home and office.
④ A “trend observer” perceives environmental awareness as a trend, and either sets or follows the green movement. London designer Anya Hindmarch’s “I’m not a plastic bag” is an example in which environmental awareness is being used as a fashion icon.
⑤ A “passive adapter” consumes green products and services not for their environmental values, but for other reasons such as functionality, design and price.
⑥ An “eco-fatigue consumer” refers to a person who has become weary and averse amid diffusion and differentiation of environmental values. This can be seen as an anti-trend amid expansion of the green movement.
So how does each consumption group respond to environmentally friendly cars? Environmental enhancers may prefer eco-friendly vehicles as a means of reducing pollution, while trend observers may try to use the cars to make a fashion statement. Passive adapters may choose green cars for their design or fuel efficiency. On the other hand, health- and mental-oriented consumers may base their decisions on the car’s interior rather than environmental technology.
Environmental values incorporate both functional and emotional aspects. That’s why efforts are being made to develop green cars that provide environmental technologies while at the same time stirring human emotions.
The eco-cee’d, slated for launch in Europe at year’s end, is expected to do just that –provide integrated environmental values that satisfy the underlying desires of today’s green consumers.