Are You Green With Envy?

Research highlights increasing resentment of eco-neighbours

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Forget the Jones’ – a new study by B&Q has found we’re now a nation desperate to keep up with the ‘Greens’ next door, according to research released this week.

The Green With Envy? study, which looked at the green behaviour of almost 1,300 Brits, has identified an increasing trend towards ‘gre-envy’, with homeowners more likely to be jealous of their neighbours’ vegetable patches or chicken coops than their shiny new cars.

Top five most-envied status symbols spied over the garden fence:
1. Vegetable patch
2. Chicken coop
3. Wild area to encourage wildlife
4. New car
5. Water-efficient plant watering system

The study found that many ‘gre-envious’ Brits plan to boost their own green credentials over the next twelve months with the purchase of green garden products and will invest more than £3.8 billion in doing so.

Almost one in five people say they’ll be buying a water butt, 22% plan to purchase solar-powered garden lighting, 16% declare they’ll invest in either a pond or a wild area to encourage wildlife to their gardens and 12% reveal a compost bin is on their shopping list. Furthermore, a massive 67% of people say they’ll grow their own fruit, vegetables or herbs this year.

As well as being motivated by ‘gre-envy’, two in five garden-owners are plagued by ‘green guilt’ over their non-green behaviour and the lack of green products in their gardens and homes. More than two thirds (77%) of people want to be greener in the garden, with the majority claiming cost is the biggest factor preventing them from doing so.

While green behaviour of those over the garden fence generates ‘gre-envy’, when it comes to celebrity greens it’s those across the pond who are believed to be setting the best example. Julia Roberts, owner of a £15million Malibu eco-mansion, was voted the greenest celebrity, followed by Cameron Diaz and George Clooney who are both known for their dedication to sustainable living.

“This is one example where one-upmanship over your neighbours is actually a positive thing!” says B&Q’s Social Responsibility Manager “It’s encouraging that people seem to be shunning traditional status symbols and are instead hankering over items that provide us with the new ideal of green living.”

May 30, 2008