Canadians Have Spoken: Practice, Don't Preach Green, Please!

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Evolution of Canadian Environmental Attitudes Measured in Cascades Index Survey

Canadians from coast to coast have spoken: practice, don’t preach green! Cascades once again collaborated with Ipsos-Descarie to develop the Cascades Index, a benchmark survey to measure the evolution of Canadian’s “green” habits. The survey found that a great majority of Canadians have increased their environmentally responsible purchases, but many report being fatigued with too much environmental lecturing.


  • First the good news, most Canadians continue to adopt environmental practices as part of their everyday routines:
  • The vast majority of Canadians (89%) put their recyclable/compostable materials in the proper recycling bin
  • Perception or reality? British Columbia wins the green perception contest. Almost a quarter of Canadians deem BC the greenest province in Canada with Quebec and Ontario following behind at 11% each. But when it comes to actually walking the walk,  Quebec takes the lead with an  eco-responsible purchase index of  105, followed by Ontario with 100 and British Columbia with  99.
  • Almost half of Canadians claimed to have changed their consumption habits to reduce the environmental impact of their purchases - an increase of 5% over last year/
  • No bags please!  66% of Canadians are bringing reusable bags with them to the grocery store, an 11% increase from 2009 which likely reflects growing awareness of the issue as well as several major retailers now charging for bags in certain provinces
  • Canadians are not ready to compromise quality when shopping green, but 58% of them consider recycled paper products (bathroom tissue and paper towels) to be of equal quality as other products, an increase from 2009
  • 69% of Canadians feel that they are contributing to paper recuperation efforts by buying product made of recycled fibers, which is an increase of 7% over last year
  • One in three Canadians has quarreled with someone who threw a recyclable product in the trash
  • Most Canadians (77%) are now washing our clothes in cold water
  • Turn down those lights! 71% of Canadians are limiting their use of electricity
  • In the true Canadian spirit, many Canadians are braving the cold for the environment with 71% turning down their heating a few degrees during the winter

“Canadians continue to be aware of the environmental impact of their purchases and are changing their habits accordingly, which is extremely encouraging” says Suzanne Blanchet, president of Cascades Tissues Group, a division of Cascades Inc. “There is such a wealth of choice when it comes to affordable green products that environmentally responsible purchasing should now be the rule, not the exception. ”


Interestingly, it seems that while most Canadians are embracing green in their private lives, there seems to be a growing sense of fatigue when it comes to some environmental messaging. Well over half of us (58%) claim that the environment is the new religion, and 54% are tired of being lectured by environmentalists. Women, who are usually the ones that implement green practices within a family, in general seem to be more receptive to environmental talk.

“It's so encouraging to see that Canadians are increasingly committed to making more sustainable choices,” says Gillian Deacon, bestselling author and environmental advocate. “But what I find most interesting is our healthy skepticism about ‘greenwashing’. Canadians are right to be wary of misleading claims on a lot of products and packages trying to appear greener than they actually are, I find it very frustrating myself. "

A final tidbit: Over 60% of Canadians associated the color green with a nature related element like grass or trees, but only 3% directly linked the colour to the environment