Indians are the most eco-friendly people while Americans the least, according to a 17-nation survey on consumers' progress towards environmentally sustainable consumption patterns.
India toped the Consumer Greendex, compiled by National Geographic which studied 17,000 consumers in 17 countries.
The consumers were asked about energy use and conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the relative use of green products versus traditional products, attitudes towards the environment and sustainability and knowledge of environmental issues.
The survey found the US the least eco-friendly in its consumption patterns. Consumers in emerging economies topped the Greendex ranking, while the six lowest scores were bagged by consumers in industrialised countries, according to the National Geographic. The rankings are Indians, Brazilians, Chinese, Mexicans, Argentineans, Russians, Hungarians, South Koreans, Swedes, Spanish, Australian, German, Japanese, British, French, Canadians and Americans. Compared to 2008, the largest increase in environmentally sustainable consumer behaviour came from the Indians, Russians and Americans. In contrast, consumers in Germany, Spain, Sweden, France and South Korea have slipped slightly over the past year.
While the US has the least sustainable behaviour, it has made some progress in the past three years. The Americans' average Greendex score has increased by 1.3 points each year. The National Geographic attributed much of the increase in the overall Greendex scores to more sustainable behaviour in the housing category in both 2009 and 2010, which was measured by the energy and resources consumed by people's homes. Brazilians, Indians, Mexicans and Chinese topped the housing category, while Germans, French, Canadians, British, Japanese and Americans were the last six. But the Americans, Hungarians, British and Australians also saw marked increases in their indices in this area, as consumers made moves to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Most people surveyed cited costs as the reason for the decrease in consumption but between 20 and 50 per cent pointed out environmental concerns. In terms of personal choices like mode of transportation, there were mixed results with some countries indicating improvement and others deterioration.