Majority of Aussie consumers purchasing sustainable products

Majority of Aussie consumers purchasing sustainable products

New research has revealed 85 per cent of Australian consumers want retailers and brands to be more transparent about the origins and sustainability of their products and whether they are engaging in ethical practices.

An independent survey commissioned by CouriersPlease found there is a substantial shift towards conscious consumerism in Australia.

Waste and increasing carbon emissions continue to be a concern across the globe, with the fashion industry expected to contribute more than a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050,  and electronics increasingly entering landfills with over 50 million tonnes of electronics discarded each year.

The survey found that two in five Aussie consumers would be willing to pay more for sustainable products, and a staggering 87 per cent of shoppers are more likely to purchase products that are ethically and sustainably produced, suggesting a substantial shift towards conscious consumerism.

Paul Roper, Chief Commercial Officer at CP, said the research reveals that Australians are becoming more conscious shoppers and are starting to make more considered choices by seeking, and purchasing, products that are sustainably and ethically produced.

“This is an important incentive for retailers to embark on sustainable initiatives within their own operations and supply chain,” he said.

SW residents top the States when it comes to conscious consumerism, with 87 per cent of respondents calling for transparency from retailers, followed by 85 per cent of Queenslanders, and compared with 68 per cent of ACT residents.

“This market often looks beyond the label and wants to know more about the company from which they are purchasing from,” Roper said.

AUSTRALIANS WANT PRODUCTS MANUFACTURED LOCALLY 

Findings in this survey align with new consumer research from Roy Morgan that found that nine in ten (89 per cent) of Australians believe Australia should be producing more products locally following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Australia’s over-reliance on imported products has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Australian Made Chief Executive, Ben Lazzaro.

“This research indicates that Australians are placing priority on manufacturing self-sufficiency and job creation along with a renewed appetite to address the imbalance between locally made and imported products, to ensure Australia’s long-term prosperity.”

Since the pandemic, more than half of Australians say they now have an even higher preference for Australian-made products.

The renewed focus on buying Australian-made has also led to more Australians to check labelling, with 43 per cent of Australians now more likely to look for country of origin labels on products.

CALLS TO IMPROVE CONSUMER PACKAGING 

Sustainable consumer behaviour has been highlighted in a recent independent national audit of recycling information on consumer products and packaging, commissioned by Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR).

Findings revealed recycling labels are confusing for consumers who are wanting to be more conscious with sustainable product purchases.

The audit – conducted by sustainability consultancy Equilibrium – across supermarkets, takeaway outlets, and convenience stores in two capital cities – found 88 per cent of the packaging components sampled were recyclable through either kerbside recycling or a supermarket based return program, but that only 40 per cent of these products had a recycling claim present on them.

The report recommended that there needs to be a clear, concise and evidenced-based label placed on every product and packaging type sold into the Australian market.

“To make sure that every product that can be recycled is recycled, ACOR believes there needs to be a uniform labelling approach,” Pete Shmigel, ACOR CEO, said.

“If we have such arrangements for nutrition, we can have them for consumer recycling. ACOR will make that case to the Commonwealth Minister for Environment.”

Shmigel encourages consumers to make a direct case to the manufacturers of the products they buy and actively ask company consumer hotlines: what is your approach to recycling labelling?

“And, those companies who specify products and packaging must also step up to correctly label their products while the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission should ensure accuracy in environmental claims and labels.”

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