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What we say we do as consumers and what we actually do may not jibe. What are people actually buying? How much energy are they actually using? By tracking nationally reported data in each of the countries where we conducted the survey, we've assembled a set of indicators of actual consumption in four areas important to environmental sustainability-energy, transportation, travel, and consumer goods. Over time, the Market Basket will allow us to track the relative environmental impact of each country's size and rate of growth as a corollary to consumer actions as measured in the Greendex. All Market Basket data are sourced from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) except for frequency of air travel, sourced from OAG (Official Airline Guide) Worldwide.

The seventeen Greendex survey countries represent 57% of the world's population and include seven of the world's top eleven. In 2008, these 17 countries accounted for 80 percent of the energy consumed in the world that year.

On the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP), the Gross Domestic Product per capita in the USA was 16 times that of the average GDP per capita in India, and almost eight times that of China in 2008. Nevertheless, GDP per capita has almost doubled in China over the past five years and has grown by almost 60 percent in India and 67 percent in Russia.

Market Basket highlights include:

  • The Market Basket shows an inverse 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 an inverse 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 inverse correlation will likely strengthen as the growth of economies in developing countries enables the emerging middle class to take advantage of new opportunities for increased personal mobility, though the slowdown in the global economy has likely put the brakes on this trend at least in the short term.
  • We see another strong correlation 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.


Download a Copy of the Full 2009 Market Basket Report (PDF)


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