California residents act and think greener than other Americans, according to the DDB Life Style Study. Perhaps living in a state experiencing severe drought heightens their behaviors and attitudes, since those living in other states are nearly twice more likely to say they do not really think about the environment in their day-to-day actions (16% vs. 9%).
"We always believed that the Western region of the United States was probably more environmentally conscious," says Denise Delahorne, SVP, Group Strategy Director of DDB U.S. "We were surprised at the degree to which this was true for the West in general, and California, in particular, especially when we looked at this part of the country versus the rest."
More than one in three Californians (37%), compared to 28% of those living in other states, say that when it comes to the environment, they try hard to do the green thing. They are also more likely to express concern over global warming (59% vs. 48%) and to actively try to reduce their carbon footprint (53% vs. 44%).
Californians are also more likely to express their green-friendly consciousness through their actions. Nearly half (49%) always carry reusable bags into the grocery store, versus 30% of other Americans. More than three in four (78%) make a strong effort to recycle everything they possibly can versus 65% of other Americans. And 47% really think about paper and packaging and make purchase decisions based on environmental waste, compared to 38% of other Americans.
“While the situation in California is at a critical point, it is heartening to know that the state’s residents are on the leading edge of environmental awareness,” says Delahorne. “Hopefully this will translate to compliance with state mandates and, on a larger stage, set an example for all U.S. residents to follow.”
Californians also are more likely than those in other states to flock to green-friendly businesses. They say they are more likely to make a special effort to buy from businesses that are environmentally conscious (45% vs. 37%) and to do more business with a company that ensures that its practices have minimal social/environmental impact (38% vs. 34%). They also penalize businesses that aren't as respectful. Whereas 37% of Americans would continue shopping at a company that is responsible for causing environmental damage, only 30% of California residents share this view.
DDB's Life Style Study has asked Americans about their attitudes towards the environment for several years, but this is the first year that the agency has isolated the data to look at it on a state-wide level. Agency executives did this because they hypothesized there might be differences in attitudes, given events, like the drought in California, that might have impacted attitudes. "We were also surprised to see how much living on the coasts — both west and east – impacted environmental concern, versus living in the middle of the country — where fresh water, for example, from the Great Lakes, is in abundance," says Delahorne.