Consumers are buying less and buying better


Consumers are rethinking consumption with sustainability in mind, according to a new study by BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility. The Regeneration Consumer Study found that 66% of consumers in six countries (Brazil, China, India, Germany, the UK and the US) say that “as a society, we need to consume a lot less to improve the environment for future generations”, and that 65% feel “a sense of responsibility to purchase products that are good for the environment and society.” The affinity toward sustainable consumption is being led by consumers in developing markets (Brazil, China, India), who are more than twice as likely as their counterparts in developed markets (Germany, UK, US) to report purchasing products because of environmental and social benefits (51% to 22%, respectively), being willing to pay more for sustainable products (60% to 26%) and encouraging others to buy from companies that are socially and environmentally responsible (70% to 34%). However, significant barriers to sustainable purchasing remain for consumers across all markets, including perceptions of product performance, high prices, skepticism about product claims and a lack of knowledge about what makes a product socially or environmentally responsible.

Download a copy of the report here >>






Shoppers are actively seeking out more responsible products, despite the recession


Shoppers are being more prudent and responsible in their buying behaviour and as a result they are taking small steps towards becoming more environmentally-friendly and sustainable, according to a new report by Shoppercentric. The research, entitled “WindowOn the Considered Shopper”, found that 83% of people actively seek out responsible labels (up from 76% in 2010) and in the past two years responsible labels (Free Range, FairTrade, Locally Sourced etc.) have either maintained the same level of interest or grown between one and four per cent. The report also shows that making responsible choices is not only the preserve of those unaffected by the economic downturn: 58% of shoppers who have had to make major changes to their spending during the recession said they would buy more environmentally or socially friendly products if they were easily available, compared with 45% of those whose spending habits have not changed. Factors that would encourage more shoppers to purchase ethically included cost (73%), ease/choice (39%) quality reassurance (26%) and access (20%).

Read the Shoppercentric press release >>






Ethical consumers can be ethical investors too


A survey conducted by Opinium for Oikocredit in the UK has revealed the differences in the way people approach buying goods and investing their savings. While most people seek to purchase goods that are ethically produced and a third of people said they try to buy fair trade products, only 5% of people think about making a positive impact on society when making an investment and 58% say that the level of financial return is what they care about when considering where to put their money. However, the typical 2% dividend offered by Oikocredit compares favourably with the currently low bank interest rates, making it more attractive to investors while also delivering a positive social impact. The survey also found that ethical consumption varies by gender, with 61% of women seeking to purchase ethically sourced products, compared with 53% of men.

Find out more on the Oiko Credit website >>






Environmental concerts and transport choices: 29th British Social Attitudes report


The 29th British Social Attitudes Report contained 'a mixed bag' of results for those concerned about the environment and how best to reduce the adverse impact of transport on the environment. The BSA report, which studies how people’s lives are changing and their views on how Britain is run, found that a majority accept that climate change is real and that it is, at least in part, caused by human activity. However, the study also showed that public concern about the part that transport plays in climate change is continuing to decline and that there is limited willingness to reduce car and plane use, and low levels of support for policies that make motoring or air travel more expensive. Although willingness to change travel behaviour is lower among those who decline to believe that climate change is caused by humans or who are unconcerned by it, there is also evident willingness, particularly among those who express concern about pollution and the environment, to consider reducing the amount they travel by car and plane. Besides transport, the BSA report also studied attitudes towards welfare, immigration, constitutional reform, health, work and wellbeing, Scottish independence and the armed forces.

Read the BSA report >>