Greenbacks for green brands

Retailers had better start listening to young, eco-conscious consumers, specifically U.S. college students between the ages 18 and 30. A recent study has found that this set wants to spend money on socially responsible brands.

According to the fifth annual College Explorer Study, conducted by Harris Interactive, students prefer social responsibility ad campaigns to celebrity endorsements. Researchers say the public should expect a greening of brands and campaigns this year, as companies attempt to tap into students’ $182 billion in aggregate spending power.

When asked what drove their purchases, 33 percent of students in the study say they look for environmentally safe brands that are giving back to the community or some cause. Brands with socially responsible factors fared much better with students than those with a great image or celebrity endorsements, which earned the votes of 16 percent and 2 percent of respondents, respectively.