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Survey Says U.S. Consumers Are Willing to Pay a Premium for Renewably Sourced Products

Contact:   Michelle Reardon

WILMINGTON, Del., April 14, 2008 – A new survey released today shows that nearly seven out of 10 U.S. consumers (65 percent) are willing to pay more for products made with renewable resources. The nationally representative survey, sponsored by DuPont and Mohawk Industries, queried 1,001 U.S. homeowners to identify consumers’ personal attitudes and behavior toward environmental responsibility.

Conducted by Market Tools, the survey also revealed that global warming and helping American farmers were important drivers for consumers. Thirty-two percent of respondents said they would consider purchasing renewably sourced products that are more expensive to help deter global warming, while 33 percent of respondents said they would consider doing the same to help American farmers. Renewably sourced products on the market today include carpets, textiles, personal care products and others derived from renewable, farm-grown sources rather than petroleum.

“The survey confirms that people are becoming much savvier, with a growing understanding that being environmentally responsible is more than just recycling or buying products made with recycled materials,” said Peter C. Hemken, vice president and general manager of DuPont Applied BioSciences – Biomaterials.

“Consumers, suppliers and product manufacturers – all stakeholders in the value and supply chains – need to take a closer look and understand the entire life cycle of products – what the products are made with, the inputs and outputs of the production process, and where the product goes at the end of its useful life – essentially the life cycle analysis,” Hemken said. “This concept of ‘starting at the source’ is similar to reading food labels at the supermarket – the final product is what you want to buy, but its ingredients help inform the decision. This is the same decision consumers can now make when considering purchasing products that contain renewably sourced ingredients.”

Mohawk Industries, a DuPont partner which recently converted its SmartStrand® line of residential carpets to include DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymer, 1 has heard first-hand from their customers about their interest in purchasing products made with renewable ingredients. “Our retailers are telling us the SmartStrand® line is the best selling residential carpet they have on the sales floor today,” said David Duncan, vice president of marketing – Mohawk Residential Carpet. “It appeals to environmentally conscious consumers while also delivering the innovative performance our customers have come to expect from Mohawk flooring.”

According to the survey results, a majority of respondents (65 percent) are willing to pay at least $5 more on a $100 product – or an additional 5 percent – for products that are made with renewable resources. On average, U.S. consumers are willing to pay $8.30 more on a $100 product that uses renewable resources.

The survey also found that there are clear regional differences in how different parts of the United States view environmental responsibility. While 28 percent of the U.S. overall believes it is extremely important to be environmentally responsible, specific regions ranked particularly high. The Pacific and East South Central regions of the United States topped the list at 39 percent and 38 percent, respectively. At the other end of the spectrum were the Mountain (25 percent), Middle Atlantic (24 percent), and tied at 21 percent were West South Central and East North Central regions. (See Table 1 for definitions of U.S. regions.)

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Women tend to be more environmentally responsible than men – Eighty-six percent of women said environmental responsibility is important (answered “extremely important” or “somewhat important”) while 74 percent of men said the same.

  • Income and age demographics have no significant impact on environmental responsibility – Surprisingly, the survey found that there was no significant disparity among various income groups in recognizing the importance of environmental responsibility. Across all income levels, the concern for environmental responsibility and degree of action to achieve environmental responsibility was similar. The same was also true for various age groups.

  • Consumers take part in a wide variety of activities to help the environment, but some activities still are not popular even with the most environmentally committed – Respondents were asked what environmentally responsible actions they take in their households. Most U.S. consumers cited recycling (60 percent), using less water (56 percent) and using less energy (53 percent) as behaviors they do “all the time.” Behaviors that were the least popular were likely the hardest for consumers to carry out. They included doing business with environmentally responsible companies, using alternative energy and assessing their carbon footprint, all at 9 percent.


The DuPont/Market Tools survey was conducted online between October 4 and October 10, 2007, with a nationally representative sample of 1,001 homeowners nationwide. Respondents were between the ages of 24 and 65. For complete results of the Consumer Survey, visit

MarketTools is the defining provider of on-demand market research, giving companies and individuals the ability to continuously understand their target customers through innovative approaches based on advanced technology, research expertise, global market reach and an online panel community of over 2.5 million individuals worldwide. MarketTools’ full-range of research applications and services provide organizations from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and non-profits with unique access to their target markets to uncover unmet needs, reduce time to market and capture market share. Further information:

DuPont and Mohawk Industries have collaborated to develop SmartStrand® with DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymer. 1 This line of residential carpet provides a unique combination of both performance and environmental benefits. Performance benefits include exceptional softness, crush resistance and durability in addition to permanent, built-in stain resistance that will never wash or wear off. The environmental benefits are threefold: (1) when compared with nylon 6,2 the production of Sorona® uses 30 percent less energy, (2) while reducing carbon dioxide emissions 63 percent compared to the production of an equal amount of nylon 6, and (3) for every 3.2 square yards of SmartStrand® with DuPont™ Sorona® sold, the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline is saved. If only 20 percent of the residential carpet sold in the United States were made with DuPont™ Sorona®, the energy equivalent of approximately 50 million gallons of gasoline per year could be saved. 3

DuPont™ Renewably Sourced™ Materials contain a minimum of 20 percent renewable ingredients by weight. These products offer several benefits over petroleum-based products. These products reduce dependence on petroleum and, in many instances, reduce the net production of greenhouse gases and energy consumption when compared to incumbent products. With today's innovative technologies, all this can be achieved without compromising performance. Applications for renewably sourced products cross numerous industries and markets. They are used in a wide variety of products including carpeting, fabrics for apparel and interiors, personal care products, automotive components, liquid detergents, food packaging and antifreeze. For more information and a complete listing of the DuPont Renewably Sourced product portfolio, visit

DuPont – one of the first companies to publicly establish environmental goals 18 years ago – has broadened its sustainability commitments beyond internal footprint reduction to include market-driven targets for both revenue and research and development investment. The goals are tied directly to business growth, specifically to the development of safer and environmentally improved new products for key global markets.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

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1 DuPont™ Sorona® contains 37 percent renewably sourced ingredients by weight

2 Based on DuPont LifeCycle Analysis (LCA) comparing Sorona® to nylon 6 (ISO standard 14040)

3 CRI carpet sales data 2005. Based on LCA data and CRI data: the energy equivalent of 1 gallon of gasoline saved for every 3.2 square yards of carpet based on a 40 oz carpet.

TABLE 1: Region Definitions

Region   States
New England   New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Middle Atlantic   Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut
East North Central   Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin
West North Central   Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas
South Atlantic   Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida
East South Central   Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi
West South Central   Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas
Mountain   Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada
Pacific   Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii


Please click on the thumbnail image to download a larger, high resolution graphic.

Calvin Klein Golf Jacket with DuPont™ Sorona® Polymer   SmartStrand® Carpet with DuPont™ Sorona® Renewably Sourced Polymer
Caption: Calvin Klein Golf introduced a new jacket in Fall 2007 made with DuPont™ Sorona® polymer.   Caption: SmartStrand® carpets from Mohawk Industries contain 37 percent renewable content by weight, thanks to DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymer.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Calvin Klein Golf   Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mohawk Industries
Survey Suggests US Consumers Willing to Pay a Premium for Renewably Sourced Products    
Caption: A new survey conducted in October 2007 shows that nearly seven out of 10 US consumers (65%) are willing to pay more for products made with renewable resources instead of petroleum.    
Graphic Credit: Courtesy of DuPont    

The DuPont Oval, DuPont™, The miracles of science™, and Sorona® are registered trademarks or trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.

DuPont™ and Sorona® are trademarks or registered trademarks of DuPont and are used under license to Mohawk.

SmartStrand® is a trademark of Mohawk Industries, Inc.

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And the environmental benefits continue…

In addition to using renewable feedstocks, the production of Sorona® reduces greenhouse gas emissions 60% over the production of an equal amount of fossil-based nylon; and uses 40% less energy than the production of an equal amount of fossil fuel based nylon.  Applying the entire output of the Bio-PDO™ production facility to Sorona® production equates to an annual energy savings equivalent to 36 MILLION gallons of gasoline[2]

In addition to the environmental benefits, Sorona® provides a wide variety of attributes and benefits to fiber and fabric.  Exceptional softness is combined with comfort stretch to provide freedom of movement.  Being chlorine and UV resistant allows clothing and swimwear made with Sorona®, to hold their bright, bold colors and sharp, crisp prints.  Best of all, Sorona® is easy care – no special care instructions – perfect for today’s busy and active lifestyles.

The response and interest in Sorona® has been tremendous, resulting in very tight supply. DuPont and its Chinese partner Glory, are currently building a polymer plant in China so the entire supply chain – from polymer to fabric – will be in Asia.  DuPont is also expanding its North American production to meet the ever-increasing demand for Sorona®.

[1]Based on annual production of 100 million pounds of Bio-PDO™ - the annual capacity of the production facility.

[2]Based on using 100 million pounds of Bio-PDO™ to produce approximately 220 million pounds of Sorona® polymer.