The price barrier to sustainable shopping

Financial constraints are restricting ‘green and ethical living’, according to the British-based division of market researchers Mintel.

Indeed, one in five consumers are not in a financial position to think about green or ethical issues. Even before the recession, price premiums were a barrier to more widespread take-up of green and ethical products and the evidence of altered priorities is that 12% of adults stated that they could no longer afford price premiums for green or ethical products.

However, the new report also shows a strong commitment to ethical and environmental issues, as those rating them as ‘very important’ were actually up marginally on 2008. Today, some 97% of adults have adopted at least one of the greener behaviours included in the survey, implying that there is a strong basis of support for further green initiatives, such as energy-saving ideas, if retailers and manufacturers were to provide positive leadership.

Indeed, in terms of low cost greener actions such as using re-usable bags and switching to low energy light bulbs behaviour has been unaffected by the recession.

Australian research released this year by IBISWorld has highlighted the cost of shopping with a conscience, while a study by Unilever showed that 51% of Australians were more concerned by sustainability this year than last.
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