According to a Harris Interactive poll, of the consumers who buy "green" products or services, two-thirds have continued to purchase those products at the same rate as before the economic downturn. One-quarter have actually increased their "green" buying even in the face of the recession.

The survey, conducted on behalf of SCA Tissue North America, asked 2,014 adult Americans between March 27 and March 31: "How have the recent economic changes affected your purchasing habits of 'green' products or services?" The survey defined "green" products or services, as things such as non-toxic or biodegradable cleaning products, and restaurants that serve locally sourced food.

Among the 73 percent of respondents who reported buying "green":

  • 67 percent reported unchanged buying patterns
  • 26 percent reported buying more
  • 8 percent reported buying less

The survey also asked how a vendor's "green" status or focus influenced their decision to shop or eat there. In this example "green" was defined as offering organic items, using products high in recycled content, using renewable energy sources, and establishing a recycling program, among other things.

Asked the likelihood of visiting the "green" store or restaurant, participants responded:

  • 49 percent were just as likely, regardless of distance or effort required
  • 26 percent were more likely if no extra distance or effort were required
  • 8 percent were more likely even if extra distance or effort were required
  • 10 percent were less likely if extra distance or effort were required
  • 8 percent were less likely even if no extra distance or effort were required.

Asked how businesses and restaurants could communicate their commitment being "green":

  • 22 percent said menu or shelf designation for "green" choices
  • 21 percent said visible flyers or posters explaining efforts
  • 12 percent said displaying awards and recognitions for efforts
  • 9 percent said putting information on the company's Web site
  • 6 percent said through news coverage
  • 2 percents said other ways
  • 27 percent said "not sure"