BP0412_Edit_InBody.jpgIt’s been more than five years since Wal-Mart introduced its online sustainable packaging scorecard and made the subject top of mind for brand owners. Since that time, we’ve seen brands big and small struggle to balance corporate responsibility and fiscal reality in the ultimate goal of reducing their packaging’s environmental footprint.

Consumers have met these efforts with equal parts enthusiasm and skepticism, making it clear that sustainability concerns are here to stay but also letting brand marketers know they won’t be “greenwashed” by false claims.

Yet despite the difficult economic climate, recent research from Perception Research Services (www.prsresearch.com) shows that shoppers demonstrate they are interested in choosing environmentally friendly packaging—with fully half willing to pay more for it.

So consumers, it seems, are willing to make a good faith effort to invest in sustainable packaging. But take note: what they ask of brands, in return, is the same. Fewer shoppers feel that manufacturers’ motives are primarily honorable, citing enhanced reputation and profit as motivators rather than concern for the environment, the study found.

Not an easy pill to swallow, but smart marketers will take note—and thrive by honestly and transparently communicating their brands’ commitment to sustainability.