Consumer attitudes and perceptions on sustainability

Abstract:This paper deals with the impact of environmental and ethical considerations on consumer buying behaviour, and is based on the survey responses of 766 members of the Guardian News and Media consumer Brand Aid Panel. Respondents indicated strong concerns about environmental and ethical issues. Over 80% highlighted CO2 emissions, pollution and over-use of resources as key concerns, and human rights was the strongest ethical concern. Over 80% indicated concerns over all of the elements in a typical consumer goods supply chain, with the strongest focus on packaging, waste disposal, and transportation. Consumers do think about the environmental and ethical aspects of their purchase, although the emphasis varies according to the type of purchase. Over 60% said they think about ethics when purchasing clothing, and over 80% think about the environment when purchasing groceries or transport. However, environmental sustainability is only one factor in the decision to buy, with price, quality and availability being more important; although 79% indicated that a company offering products and services with low environmental impacts would be more likely to win their loyalty. Two out of every three consumers consider ethical and environmental assurances to be important in developing loyalty. Unfortunately, there is a mismatch between what consumers expect businesses to do on sustainability and their perception of what is being done. Over 80% indicated that energy, manufacturing and transport sectors should place a high priority on environmental sustainability; but over 70% also think that energy, manufacturing and transport companies are not environmentally friendly and have little concern for the environment.

URL: http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2010/06/11/GSiJun2010.pdf

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Resource Type: Article/report

Date of Publication: Not Available