Washington, May 8 : Indian and Brazilian customers have the most environmentally friendly lifestyles, according to a new global survey.
American customers scored lowest in the survey from the National Geographic Society, and the international polling firm GlobeScan, which was aimed at examining the impact of individual consumer behaviour.
"The Greendex gives us an unprecedented, meaningful look at how consumers across the globe are behaving," National Geographic quoted Terry Garcia, its executive vice president of mission programs, as saying.
"We hope people will be inspired to look at how their own behavior is affecting the environment and take steps to minimize their environmental footprint," Terry added.
The findings are based on Internet surveys of consumers in 14 countries, which together represent more than half of the world's population and use about 75 percent of its energy.
The behaviours of individuals were compared in four key areas: housing, transportation, food, and consumer goods.
Indian and Brazilian consumers scored 60 each on the sustainable-consumption scale, followed by China (56.1).
Customers in the US were found to be the most wasteful with a score of 44.9 on the sustainable-consumption scale.
Mexico, Hungary, Russia, Great Britain, Germany, Australia, Spain, Japan, France, and Canada were the other countries involved in the study.
The researchers also conducted face-to-face studies in Egypt and Nigeria, but the two countries were not scored because of their differing methodology.
While Indians were found to have the greenest food habits on account of less meat consumption and high consumption of fruits and vegetables, Brazilian topped in the category of housing because they typically have smaller homes, rarely use air conditioning or heating, and rely heavily on on-demand, tankless water-heating systems.
Chinese, who heavily rely on bicycles or walking, scored highest on transportation behaviours.
Nick Nuttall, a spokesperson for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), welcomed the index results.
"It is certainly illuminating and perhaps overturns the common perception that it is only consumers in the rich countries who are environmentally aware and eco-active on the High Street and in their purchasing habits," he said.
He hopes that the survey can help spur governments to develop in less wasteful and more environmentally conscious ways.
"Thus there is an urgent need to ensure that this economic growth does not echo the 20th century growth of North America, Europe, and Japan and that developing economies are given the technologies and the creative financing needed to avoid the mistakes of the past," he said.