To provide context for the GreendexTM results, National Geographic and GlobeScan also developed a “Market Basket,” a set of national macroeconomic indicators of consumption in four areas important to environmentally sustainable behavior — energy, transportation, travel and consumer goods. The data, gathered by the Economist Intelligence Unit, mirrors in part the consumer behavior measured by the Greendex survey.
The purpose of the Market Basket is to provide an external estimate of changes in consumer behavior over time, while acknowledging that industry and government also play a critical role. The Greendex, for example, measures things consumers are doing to save energy in a country; the Market Basket measures whether total energy consumption in the country is actually going up or down. The Market Basket will also establish a framework for comparing the relative environmental impact of each country’s size and rate of growth, over time.
Current Market Basket data validate the 2008 Greendex rankings, with actual energy consumption aligned with each country’s Greendex score. More importantly, however, the Market Basket data suggest that if current growth rates are sustained in certain countries in 2008, Greendex rankings may change considerably in the near future.
Market Basket indicators include the following variables:
-Population size and rate of growth
-GDP per capita based on Purchasing Power Parity
-Per capita energy consumption
-Passenger car registrations
-Number of domestic and international aircraft passengers per 1,000 people
-Expenditure by households on hotels and restaurants
Market Basket highlights:
The Market Basket shows a strong correlation between the per capita energy consumption profile of countries and their consumers’ overall Greendex score. This is an expected finding given that higher levels of consumption across all sub-categories of the Greendex naturally lead to greater use of energy both in the consumption and provision of goods and services.
There is also a strong correlation between the incidence of new car registrations per capita and a country’s consumers’ transportation Greendex score. The higher the prevalence of new car registrations, the lower the Greendex score on transportation. This correlation will likely strengthen as the growth of economies in developing countries enables the emerging middle class to adopt higher-impact modes of transportation.
Another strong correlation is seen between per capita wealth – as measured by the Purchasing Power Parity of GDP – and the propensity to acquire goods. Behavior captured by the Greendex survey matches the capacity to acquire goods as measured by GDP. As developing countries grow more wealthy, they will set the stage for increased impact of consumption on the environment.