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Many Koreans lag in 'green' efforts

Cathy Rose A. Garcia

Most Koreans have not changed their behavior to minimize the impact on the environment and to prevent global warming. This was one of the findings of a recent survey on the Asian environmental consumer in 10 countries, including Korea, conducted by Asia-Pacific LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability).

Koreans ranked lowest of the 10 countries when it came to agreeing that they have personally changed their behavior to protect the environment.

Asia-Pacific LOHAS President Adam Horler said most Koreans believed that corporations and the government should lead efforts to save the environment, but not the individuals.

“(Koreans) have the least recognition that the individual is important in the fight for the environment. From a Korean point of view, it is all about the government and companies, not the individual...

We need to get this message out that individuals are more important than companies and government,” Horler said in an interview with The Korea Times last week.

Horler shared insights from his company’s research on the Asian consumer and LOHAS, which is a consumer category that focuses on health, environment, personal development, social justice and sustainable living.

The survey showed 87 percent of Korean consumers have some interest in LOHAS factors, such as health and environment.

Corporate social responsibility also plays a significant factor in influencing Korean consumers. Around 74 percent of Korean respondents agreed that knowing a company is mindful of its impact on the environment and society makes them more likely to try their products and services.

Horler sees LOHAS as a great opportunity for Korean companies to fulfill the demand for healthier, eco-friendly and sustainable products and services in Asia. The LOHAS global market is estimated to be worth $350 billion, but the Asian consumers’ purchasing power has not yet been harnessed. In Japan, 12 percent or 17 million adults are already consumers of LOHAS such as natural and organic food, hybrid vehicles and green buildings, among others.

Companies should be aware that not all green consumers are the same. Horler said there are four segments: LOHAS consumers, Naturalites, Drifters and Conventionalists, which make up over 85 percent of the Asian consumer market.

LOHAS consumers, also known as “Lohasians,” are most concerned about their personal and the planet’s health, and always pushing the green movement to the next level.

Horler, a former executive of P&G and L’Oreal, is a self-confessed Lohasian. He drives a hybrid car, uses a 7-year-old Nokia cell phone after losing his iPhone, and brings a plastic stirrer to coffee shops, instead of grabbing a new one. “LOHAS is all about a simpler life,” he said, adding that it means a reduction in personal consumption.

Naturalites only focus on their own health and well-being, while drifters, which are the biggest market segment in Asia, are trend-driven and use environmentally friendly products as a “green badge of being cool.”

Conventionalists tend to be older, more conservative, but practical and driven by cost savings. In Korea, conventionalists make up the largest consumer segment.
Horler said Korean companies should become more aware of LOHAS to better position themselves in catering to the growing market. He noted the biggest markets ― China, India and Indonesia

― have shown significant interest in LOHAS.

“In the end, LOHAS will be the most successful part of the market. Companies that are sustainable will be the ones that win. They may not make the best profits or best margins right now, but in 10 years’ time they would be outstripping the competition,” Horler said.

His company offers expertise for businesses on how to harness LOHAS consumer purchasing power, and will launch a global online network of these companies called The Hub by LOHAS.

These are part of his efforts to build a bigger LOHAS market in Asia, but Horler acknowledges there needs to be a stronger push. “LOHAS has to be cool. This has to be something aspirational in all the markets,” he said.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.


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