Super Greenies Have a Taste for Luxury

About 5% of adults are “Super Greenies” — those who engage in 10 or more green activities, such as recycling, using rechargeable batteries, and re-using grocery store bags — according to Scarborough Research.  These Super Greenies, who perform the largest number of environmentally-friendly activities, also happen to be some of the top wage earners in the country with a taste for luxury.

Scarborough says Super Greenies are “high-income, high-spending consumers who purchase luxury items and lead active lifestyles.”  They use the internet to find information about local things like weather and businesses.

Super Greenies are 143% more likely than the average adult to have a post-graduate degree, 91% more likely to have a home valued at more than $500,000, and 60% more likely to have a second home.  They are 76% more likely than the average adult to have a household income in excess of $150,000.

Today’s environmentalists have traded sandals and hemp for cashmere and a Lexus,” said Deirdre McFarland, vice president of marketing, Scarborough Research, according to a press release announcing the report.  Super Greenies are active.  They’re 178% more likely than the average adult to have hiked or backpacked, 221% more likely to have attended yoga or pilates, and 107% more likely to have bicycled in the last year.

The West Coast is full of Super Greenies with 17% of local adults in San Francisco likely to be in this category.  After that, there’s Seattle (14%), Portland (11%), San Diego (11%), Denver (11%), and Austin (10%).

[+] Download the Super Greenies research by Scarborough.

Credit: Scarborough. 

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  • Permacyclists .com

    Interesting post, but isn’t there something contradictory in the idea of being a “super greenie” and being “high-spending consumers” trading, “sandals and hemp for cashmere and a lexus”?  If we’re going to make it through the challenges we face, we’re going to need bikes instead of cars and second-hand clothes instead of cashmere, and for everyone to stop consuming as much as possible.  Seems like being a super greenie is more about loading yourself down with eco-bling and an image than actually doing anything for the planet…

    • Preston

      Thanks for your thoughts.  I posted this as a reference for the future, but it is interesting that those that do the most to reduce their environmental impact are also more inclined to consume and have things like a second home.  Raises the issue of whether consumption and environmentalism are at odds or can be reconciled. 

  • Myriad

    I wonder the same thing – this reads like typical marketing pap – wouldn’t green mean just plain getting on with less?  Isn’t the success of “green” in adoption by many people of all economic strata?  and isn’t it more that rich people (that’s what this demographic is) can afford to adopt green rather?

  • PrimeReal

    It could be that they are picking and choosing where to have an impact.
    You can like nice things and still do your part at helping the environment.
    Take the car for example, most people need to own a car. You can’t bike everywhere all the time. If you are going to own a car, better to own a nice car, with acceptable gas mileage (and bike when possible) than to own a Hummer and not try at all.
    I don’t think its necessarily contradictory, but I admit that it can be.
    Its like saying “Why eat a healthy lunch when you are just going to eat ice cream for dessert?” We can’t all be perfect all of the time, but we can strive to do our best where we can fit it in and where we know how. Today recycle, tomorrow reusable bags, maybe 10 years later you downgrade to a passive home.
    Just because you have your weakness (a new Prius as opposed to used car ) doesn’t mean that you should not try at all.

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