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Impact investing movement gathering momentum since declaration of climate emergency
Triodos Bank’s annual impact investing survey has revealed that the climate emergency is shifting investors’ mindsets about the impact of their money. More than half of people (53%) agree that choosing carefully where you invest your money is one of the best ways to protect the planet, three-quarters (75%) agree that financial providers need to be more transparent about where people’s money goes.
High costs and lack of support are key barriers to healthy and sustainable living
Globescan research details that there is a broad gap between intent and action in helping people to lead healthy and sustainable lives. A study surveying 25,000 people across 25 countries found that 54 percent of people across 25 countries say that living in a way that is good for themselves, others, and the environment is a “large” or “major” priority for them, only 37 percent say they “mostly” live this way now. Young people (aged 18–24) display a larger gap between intended and current lifestyle than older respondents, while also feeling more guilty about their negative environmental impact. The study finds that one main barrier preventing people from achieving a more sustainable lifestyle is cost. Respondents aged 18–24 are most likely to say this.
Other cited obstacles include lack of support from government and companies, knowledge deficits, and a preference for existing ways of life. The study confirms that people are increasingly worried about the environment, with growing majorities across the 25 countries saying a range of issues, including environmental and air pollution, climate change, shortages of fresh water, and biodiversity loss, each pose a “very serious” problem. Young people are feeling the most anxiety about negative environmental impacts.
People want personal care and beauty products to be more ethical
Sagentia’s new findings show that most British adults say personal care and beauty brands should be more ethical and sustainable.The sentiment was shared by men and women, and was consistent across all age groups. However, female respondents felt significantly more strongly about the issue than men, with 85% versus 73% saying more effort should be made. Responses indicate that when people are buying personal care products, ethical and sustainability credentials (34%) are just as important as sensory characteristics, such as fragrance (31%). However, value for money (67%) and functional benefits, such as helping skin or hair problems (54%), are top priorities for most people. Younger people aged 18-24 were more inclined to take practical steps to make their personal care and beauty products more sustainable, as 33% would like to personalise the way packaging is sourced, for instance to make it more environmentally friendly.
Two thirds of children want to buy from companies that do good in the world
Wunderman Thompson Commerce released research regarding the shopping habits of the UK’s youngest consumers. A total of 4,003 consumers, 6-16 years old, in the UK and US were interviewed online during July 2019. The research was conducted by an independent research consultancy Censuswide. They found that: 18% of all children would prefer to buy products that are sustainable and not plastic; and that 13-16-year olds are the biggest proponents of sustainable retail, with a quarter (24%) shunning plastic.
Extinction Rebellion and BBC Blue Plant are having a positive impact on grocery baskets
Research commissioned by Wessanen UK shows that Extinction Rebellion and BBC Blue Planet are potentially having an effect on consumer choice. Shows like the BBC's Blue Planet have prompted over a third (37%) of respondents to think more sustainably, and concern for the environment is now a driver for conscious purchasing for over a half of consumers (54%).
44% of Brits say they ‘always’ or ‘often’ look to buy ethically and/or sustainably produced groceries. 37% say they have been considering ethical and sustainability issues more often when grocery shopping over the last 12 months. 34% say they would be willing to pay more for products which are certified ethical – the same proportion who would pay more for products which use less plastic and packaging.
Over a third of shoppers (39%) said a price premium for ethical and sustainable groceries of up to 10% was fair. 56% of shoppers are using fewer plastic bags and 40% are avoiding single use plastic compared to a year ago. The Co-Op ranked highest as the supermarket that helps Brits live ethically and sustainably, closely followed by Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and M&S. Fairtrade is the most recognised ethical label, with 62% claiming to actively look for this logo when grocery shopping.
Brits prefer to buy second-hand to reduce their carbon footprint
Shpock, in association with YouGov, surveyed over 2000 UK customers and found they much more willing to buy and shop second hand clothes (34% willing) than they were to reduce the amount they fly (25%) or go vegetarian (24%). 34% said they would buy more second-hand clothes, while 39% said they would buy more second-hand furniture to reduce their carbon footprint. Regarding being more eco-friendly, Brits would still rather prioritise recycling more packaging (79%), drinking more tap water instead of bottled water (63%) or buying more local produce from their supermarket (54%).
Purchasing second hand electronics is also a consideration for Brits, with 1 in 5 (20%) saying they would buy a gadget that isn’t brand new in order to reduce their carbon footprint. An overall 96% want to reduce their impact on the environment.
Consumer choice is moving from individual centric to planet centric decision making
The Soil Association Certification conducted research into consumer choice regarding organic businesses. There has been another year of growth with organic sales at supermarkets up 3.8%* so far in 2019. Growth in organic sales is now double that of non-organic sales, a trend set to continue as demand for organic increases and shopping demographics change. The research showed that when organic principles - such as reducing pesticide use, protecting biodiversity, climate and animal welfare - were explained to shoppers, they found them “very compelling”.
In keeping with this finding, the research suggested that businesses that make sustainable choices easier and concisely express sustainability claims are most likely to succeed in driving product demand.
Almost half of Brits would pay more tax to combat climate change
Modular Classrooms commissioned a survey of 6,000 British people to find out how much they know about climate change. The research found that “two in five Brits are clueless about climate change”, scoring an average of 46% when tested on environmental issues. A quarter of British people also wrongly believe the UK is leading the world in solar energy. Furthermore, those in Yorkshire and the Humber had the least knowledge of climate change scoring an average of 39%, while Londoners scored the highest at an average of 54%.
Only 1 in 3 British people answered correctly that out of: flying in an aeroplane; driving a car; riding a bus; or taking the train; it is taking a plane which has the most impact on your footprint. 51% respondents said the answer was driving a car. However, British people generally answered correctly regarding which product contributed more to illegal deforestation, citing palm oil over coconut, sunflower and olive oil.
Reassuringly, the survey also found that almost half (41%) of Brits would be prepared to pay more tax if it meant the government had more resources to fight climate change.
Two thirds support limited air travel to tackle climate change
Cardiff University’s Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) commissioned YouGov research into public perceptions of climate change in the UK. 3 out of 5 people said addressing climate change requires ‘high’ or ‘extremely high’ levels of urgency. 61% supported the UK Parliament’s declaration of a climate emergency with only 11% opposing it.
In-keeping with this urgency, 67% of people felt that we should limit air travel in order to address climate change, compared to only 22% who felt this wasn’t necessary. 53% felt that we should reduce the amount of meat in our diets to address climate change, whereas 37% felt we do not need to this.
Brits search for charity shops over 100,000 times a month on the web
OnBuy.com investigated the search volumes regarding terms related to “second-hand/resale” for 13 different countries around the world. The UK searches for second-hand stores over 100,000 times a month, placing it third in the world. This is however, unsurprisingly, not as high as the amount for the US (955,000) or Germany (338,640).
Two thirds of people expect “electric cars” to be referred to as “cars” by 2030
New research conducted by Go Ultra Low, the joint government and industry campaign to promote the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs), has found that two thirds (69%) of people expect “electric cars” to be referred to simply as “cars” by the year 2030. The research, which looked at the normalisation process of new technology, found people seeing their family and friends driving them (33%), as well more being visible on the road (49%), as the two main factors driving a change in the way we perceive EVs.
When asked what factors would improve the likelihood of purchasing an EV, close to half (45%) of respondents cited improved charging infrastructure. Meanwhile, a quarter (25%) of those surveyed said a wider variety of models would increase their purchase consideration. The same research found that, on average, people believed there were only 15 models available; however, there are 24 fully electric and hydrogen models and 27 plug-in hybrids available to buy, with this number set to double over the next 12 months.
Shoppers are taking limiting the environmental impact of fast fashion into their own hands
Patatam.co.uk commissioned a survey of 1000 UK adults for their website launch. Research shows that 1 in 5 now feel guilty buying new clothes and that 64% say they would now buy second hand clothing (up from 45% in 2016). Furthermore, a quarter of women say they don’t want to contribute to clothing waste. 1 in 4 (26%) of British women are now worried about buying new clothes, due to the environmental impact of fast fashion.1 in 3 (31%) British women who say they are now conscious of the issues surrounding fast fashion, such as water wastage and unwanted clothes going to landfill.
4 in 5 think that the government should do more to help local communities generate their own energy
Community Energy England and Community Energy Wales released their third Community Energy - State of the Sector report. Co-op Energy polling found that 82% of respondents in the public think the government should do more to help local communities generate their own energy. 69% think the government should once again offer tax relief to those individuals who take the risk of investing in community energy. 275 community energy organisations were identified throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Just three of these organisations were found to have formed in 2018, in London, Lancaster and Pembrokeshire. Organisations with new energy projects in 2018 were found to centre on urban areas, particularly London, Brighton, Bournemouth, Bristol and Cardiff. 29 organisations (compared to five in 2017) stated that they were actively involved in low carbon transport projects, including EVs, car clubs and hydrogen-based transport.
The majority of communities focused on supporting and using EVs, including eight communities that installed charging infrastructure and 13 communities using EVs in their local area.
Low levels of sustainability and deforestation-free imports in the EU
The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) published a data report detailing the low sustainable, responsible and no-deforestation imports for soy, palm oil and tropical timber in the EU. Just 22% of soy and 28.5% of tropical timber bought by Europe’s food industry is responsible. Palm oil performed slightly better at 74% but remains far off the 100% sustainable target by 2020.
The research showed notable differences between northwestern and southern Europe with the Netherlands sourcing 83% responsible soy for its own use. while Italy, Portugal and Spain showed virtually no demand for this.
Amazon lacks loyalty among young shoppers
Wunderman Thompson’s Future Shopper 2019 reveals insights into digital shopping. The survey reveals that over a third of consumer spending goes to Amazon but young shoppers are less likely to be completely loyal to them. 16 to 24-year olds are less likely than older shoppers to believe the marketplace provides the best experience when it comes to access to brands, easy returns and customer service.
For consumers to choose other retailers and brands over Amazon, they look for the following key attributes: Cheaper pricing (61%) / More attractive loyalty programmes (26%) / More convenient delivery options (23%) / A better, more specialised product range (18%). Consumers are also still craving an in-store experience; almost half (46%) say they prefer to shop with a brand that has a physical store, which rises to 49% among Gen Z shoppers.
UK parents are becoming more aware of environmental problems
Figures from Sustrans via YouGov, reveal that 83% of UK parents have better awareness of environmental problems than a year ago. Out of those, 87% said they have made changes to their lifestyle to minimise their impact on the environment as a result of this. Over three in five (61%) have reduced plastic usage, followed by recycling more (57%) and walking for shorter journeys (38%), whilst 9% started cycling for shorter journeys. Surveying 1089 parents with children aged 18 and under across the UK, more than eight out of ten parents (83%) think an individual’s choice of transport plays an important role in leading a sustainable lifestyle. Despite this, petrol and diesel vehicles remain the main mode of travel for a day out for over half (56%) of UK families.
Walking tops the mode of transportation that is considered sustainable (81%), followed by cycling (72%) and train (35%). But, 70% say sustainable travel is not a key factor for determining the destination for a day out. Almost one third (29%) stated a lack of public transport as a key barrier to travelling more sustainably, followed by the inconvenience of planning a journey around being environmentally friendly (27%) and limited budget (26%). Almost half (47%) attributed their increased awareness of environmental problems to televised programmes and a further 42% credited this to newspapers and magazines. 92% of parents think it is important to teach their children about the impact their lifestyle can have on the environment.
Brands with purpose are respected more by 9 in 10 US consumers
Porter Novelli and Cone Communications conducted a biometric study regarding consumer perspectives and corporate messaging and strategy. Through monitoring 1000 American adults with biometric testing the research revealed that American consumers are more likely to have a positive image of (89%), trust in (86%), and be loyal to (83%) brands that include values in their corporate messaging and strategy.
British women have £13 billion of unworn clothing their wardrobe
Patatam commissioned research into the appetite of British women for giving away their old clothing. The average British woman has approximately £504 worth of unwanted items in their wardrobe, as well as 13 items which they either no longer want or fit into and are worth an average of £36.The research suggested that – for many – hoarding clothes in this way is often due to sentimental factors, with more than 1 in 6 (17%) saying old clothes will remind them of a specific place, person or experience.
And almost 1 in 5 (18%) say they will hold onto items which no longer fit in the hope that they will eventually be able to fit back into them. However, the research shows that awareness of more responsible fashion practices are growing – as 92% said they’d prefer to sell these kinds of items on to someone else, rather than simply throwing them away.
Consumers see fairtrade as a reflection of their personal values
Research by Fairtrade shows that 9 in 10 British shoppers are familiar with the Fairtrade Mark and believes it reflects their personal values. This cross-continental study of 9,200 consumers was carried out for National Fairtrade Organizations across eight countries by international research and advisory consultancy GlobeScan had several conclusions regarding consumer relationships with the Fairtrade brand. “84% of consumers have trust in the mark and Fairtrade’s work in providing fair prices, a living income and helping farmers to escape from poverty is crucial to this trust”.
Bananas are the most visible Fairtrade product in the UK, followed by coffee and chocolate, and the majority of consumers who have seen the FAIRTRADE Mark agree that it has a positive impact on their perceptions of the brand using the label. 7 in 10 people who recall purchasing Fairtrade-certified products would recommend Fairtrade to friends, a significant increase compared to half in 2015. Of the brands and retailers spontaneously associated with Fairtrade, Co-op came top. Consumers aged between 18 to 24 year olds demonstrate greater trust in the Fairtrade Mark and show more label loyalty. Centennials and millennials are more likely to choose Fairtrade products when they shop.
Brits more likely to buy products if they have eco-friendly packaging
Kendon Packaging surveyed British people to discover what would prompt them to change their buying habits. 16% of respondents put eco-friendly packaging as top of their list of reasons to switch to a new product and, interestingly, respondents in the 55-64 age range were the most eco-conscious. 66% said they would consider buying a particular product if it had eco-friendly branding. Nonetheless, 56% of respondents surveyed said that price was their most important concern when switching to new products.
Over 1/2 of Brits prepared to make ‘significant’ lifestyle changes to help the environment
Modular Classrooms conducted a nation-wide survey of 3,000 British people which revealed that over half (57%) are prepared to make ‘significant’ lifestyle changes such as eating less meat and driving less to help stop climate change. People residing in Wales are most prepared to help the environment with 66% having said they would make significant lifestyle changes, compared to 51% in the South-West. 47% admit they try to purchase products without plastic wrapping while grocery shopping. 78% of parents believe that at some point, it is important for their children to be educated on sustainability and the preservation of the environment.
The majority felt Early Years (age 3 to 5) is the most appropriate time for children to be taught about the environment. 60% of parents admit they would be influenced when selecting a school by one that encourages recycling or teaches learners about environmental impact. 41% of Brits believe that more careers are now available for young people should they wish to study environmental science as part of their education. Furthermore, 80% of parents said they have faith that if recycling bins were provided, pupils would make a conscious effort to make use of them.
Link: Modular Classrooms
Global meat substitutes markets experiences rapid growth
The Meat Substitutes Market report 2018-2028 features statistics and projections regarding the burgeoning meat substitutes market. The global meat substitutes market has experienced a rapid growth in recent years.The market will grow to $5,810.4m by 2022 at a CAGR of 7.7%.
The 2019 Organic Market Report
The report by Soil Association ‘Organic Market 2019’ publishes with the support from Triodos Bank revealed that the UK organic market has experienced a steady growth with sales increasing by 5.3%. This has resulted in an expenditure of £45 million a week on organic food in the UK. It is predicted that the UK organic market will be worth £2.5 billion by 2020. The market is now in its eighth year of growth. Home delivery of organic food, through box schemes and online has grown at 14.2% where this channel accounts for 14% of all sales.
By 2023, home delivery is set to make up a quarter of all sales of organic food in the UK. Sales of organic food increased by 3.3% in supermarkets whereas sales of organic increased by 6.2% by independent retailers. Organic beauty and textiles experienced a growth of 14% and 18% respectively. Soil Association Certification licensee sales increased by 9%. Sales of organic into food service have risen by 8%. Packaging and wider environmental issues are continuing to influence shopper choices.
Sustainable products appear in Lyst index of fashion’s hottest brands
Lyst’s global fashion search platform catalogues the most popular brands in every 3 month cycle to form a list of the top 10 fashion products on the market. For the first time the top 10 lists feature two products from brands renowned for their sustainable efforts. Patagonia’s fleece ranked amongst the world’s hottest men’s products worldwide this quarter. Searches for men’s fleeces are up 44% in the last two months, with the Patagonia Classic Retro-X™ fleece jacket being the ultimate choice. French ethical sneaker brand Veja enters the Index for the first time thanks to the Veja V10 sneakers.
After Meghan Markle was spotted wearing a pair of Veja’s sustainable trainers on October 21, online searches for the brand increased by 113%. Allbirds, another environmentally friendly footwear brand, is also seeing growing search demand for its comfortable and sustainable sneakers. Also, we have seen a huge spike in searches for Dr. Martens boots, with the brand enjoying a powerful moment of reinvention - expanding the range of vegan and leather-free versions of its iconic boots has also had a halo effect on the brand. #DrMartens has been mentioned close to two million times on Instagram, with searches for the English boot brand up by 110% this quarter.
Share of meat-free new products carrying a vegan/no animal ingredients claim nearly doubled between 2014-17
Research conducted by Mintel reveal that 56% of UK adults eat vegetarian/meat-free foods and that 34% of British people have limited/reduced meat eating in the first half of 2018. Alongside this, 52% of new product launches in the meat-free foods market were vegan/contained no animal ingredients. The significant growth in the availability of vegan products in the meat-free foods market will appeal to the 26% of consumers who prefer meat-free products to be plant-based rather than containing eggs or dairy.
More than half of Brits are considering to reduce or stop meat consumption in 2019
Research conducted by UK-based banking services provider thinkmoney found that the average Brit spends £645 a year on meat items. Vegetarian and vegan diets are the top most searched on Google in the month of January suggesting that people are considering to make dietary changes for their New Year’s resolution.
This prediction was backed up by thinkmoney’s research which showed that 41% of Brits plan to cut down on meat in 2019 whereas 13% plan to go completely vegetarian. In order to study how Brits spent their disposable income it was found that lifestyle choices lag behind their spending habits. The average Brit spends £389 on taxis each year. 32% of Brits would rather hire a taxi for journey of 1 mile or less, citing laziness, the weather and convenience as reasons.
Other findings suggested that Brits would consider compromising on their healthy lifestyle in order to save some cash. 56% of gym-goers would give up their gym membership to save money. However Brits weren’t ready to give up their hobbies in order to save money. Only 6% of sports fan would consider giving up their season ticket to save money.
Consumers favour Corporate Social Responsibility over price tags
A U.S survey conducted by Clutch, a research and consulting firm based in Washington D.C., revealed that consumers tend to shop at companies that are socially responsible and accountable for their actions. Consumers’ purchasing decisions are heavily based on the price but now a slightly different trend is being witnessed as consumers are willing to pay a little more for a product if the company’s stance is in line with the consumers’ values.
According to the survey, the values supported by consumers are environmental protection (71%), social responsibility (68%), giving back to the community (68%), support of social movements (50%) and only 44% considered price as one of the most important attributes for a company’s brand definition.
The most interesting finding was that 75% of those surveyed are likely to start buying from a company that supports an issue they agree with whereas 59% are likely to stop buying from a company that supports an issue they disagree with. Trust issues with regard to company policies were also witnessed as 29% people think that profit was the main motive for companies to support social movements. Only 28% are of the belief that businesses genuinely care about the social movements that they support.
UK overtakes Germany as world’s leader for vegan food launches
According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), in 2018 the UK launched the highest number of new vegan food products, toppling Germany from its spot as world leader in launching new vegan products. 16% of food products launched in the UK in 2018 had a vegan/ no animal ingredients claim, doubling from just 8% in 2015.
Overall, 9% of food products launched in Europe in 2018 had a vegan/no animal ingredients claim, doubling from 5% in 2015. Around 34% British meat eaters reduced their meat intake in the six month to July 2018 following a flexitarian approach, up from 28% who had done so in 2017. According to 31% of those surveyed, news articles proved to make convincing arguments for giving up meat. Sales of non-dairy milk grew 9.4% from £202 million in 2016 to £221 million in 2017. Meanwhile, one in ten (9%) Brits drank plant-based milk in the three months to February 2018, rising to 27% of consumers aged 25-34. However to 39% of British diners vegan meals were boring while 41% said they were overpriced. Around 9% British diners would like to see more vegan items on the menu.
More than half of all meat-free new product launches in the UK carry a vegan claim
Research from Mintel revealed a surge in vegan claims in the UK meat-free foods market. According to Mintel research, the share of meat-free new products carrying a vegan/no animal ingredients claim nearly doubled between 2014-17. In 2014, the share of vegan products was only 28% whereas the figure has increased to 52% in 2017. According to the research by Mintel, 26% of consumers who prefer meat-free products to be plant-based rather than containing eggs or dairy.
More than half (56%) of UK adults have eaten vegetarian/meat-free foods in the six months to July 2018, a significant increase from the 50% who had eaten these foods in the six months to March 2017. Sales of meat-free products have shot up 22% between 2013-18, estimated to reach £740 million in 2018. Growth is set to continue as sales of the meat-free market are forecast to increase by a further 44% by 2023 to reach £1.1 billion.
While 90% of Brits are red meat/poultry eaters, Mintel research highlighted that consumers intended to reduce their meat consumption as 34% of meat eaters reduced their meat intake in 2018. 40% of the younger Brits (25-34) were most likely to reduce their meat intake in the previous year. A further 21% of meat eaters showed interest in reducing their meat consumption in the near future.
The top three perceived benefits of eating less meat are improving health (32%), saving money (31%), and being better for the environment (25%). Despite improving health being seen as the top benefit, considerably fewer consumers associate eating less meat with helping to manage weight (25%) or reducing the risk of disease (22%).
Meat avoiders want their food to taste like meat. It was found that ‘tasting like meat’ was the top most enticing factor for 26% of the infrequent/non eaters of vegetarian/meat free foods. Whereas to 15% of consumers, products that replicated meat (burger that bleed) were appealing. 44% of Brits did not know what ingredients were used in meat-free foods. While 41% of consumers agreed that meat-free foods with a shorter list of ingredients were more appealing than those with longer ingredient lists, and a further 31% believed that meat-free foods were too processed to be healthier than meat.
Hyundai research revealed that Brits are concerned by air pollution
A survey conducted by Hyundai of 2,000 UK adults has found that nearly one in five Brits are concerned about the impact of air pollution on their health and the environment. The research suggested that 74% Brits believed that more actions could and should be taken by them to lead a more greener life. Air pollution has become a problem because the top most concern for the 56% of the people is the impact of air pollution on their children. According to the survey, Londoners (55%) are worried about air pollution, the second most worried are those in Edinburgh (52%) and followed by Manchester residents (50%).
A survey revealed that almost half of meat eaters admit that they couldn’t slaughter the animal themselves
A survey by Cherry Digital surveyed 800 Brits and asked them whether they would eat meat if they had to slaughter the animal themselves. The survey revealed that almost half of all British meat-eaters (48%) said that they wouldn’t be able to eat meat if they had to slaughter the animal themselves. When broken down by gender, 62% of men said that they could slaughter their own meat whereas only 43% of women said they could do so.
These figures correlate with statistics on vegetarianism, which shows that 59% of vegetarians are women and 41% are men. Brits agreed to give up eating meat for 2.6 days on average. When broken down by gender, women were willing to give up meat for 4.6 days a week whereas men have less self-control therefore it was only 1.8 days. 65% of Brits were concerned about animal welfare and how they were treated before they ended up on dinner tables. Over a third, 34.3% would consider becoming flexitarians: that’s when you have a mainly vegetarian diet but occasionally eat meat or fish.
Future of organic growth seems to be optimistic
Research conducted by Kantar Worldpanel showed that the organic market is experiencing a steady growth from non-traditional supermarkets such Aldi, Lidl and Co-Op posing a threat to the traditional dominance of Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Organic hot beverages, take-home savouries and dairy, cereals are the categories experiencing a clear growth.
According to Soil Association Certification’s 2018 Organic Market Report, the organic market is worth £2.2 billion. Kantar Worldpanel data also revealed that while 23 million people buy organic each year, nearly 80% of spend is accounted for by just 4.4 million shoppers.
One third of the non-investors in Britain say that they would consider investing for the first time in `Ethical` investment funds
An online investment service named Wealthify found that 32 percent of non-investors were willing to invest their money for the first time in ethical investment funds. Wealthify also revealed that early customers of ethical investment portfolios were more likely to be female and younger than the average customer. Potential ethical investors try their best to lead eco-friendly lives.
82% of those polled recycled as much as possible, 69% reduce their energy consumption at home, whereas 47% avoid single use plastics and 45% will upcycle furniture and 43% would `make do and mend` rather than purchasing something new. Some of the top reasons given by Brits for this effort includes waste reduction (66%), sense of responsibility (41%), saving money (39%), supporting green companies(22%) as well as setting a good example for others (21%).
More than half of teenagers are influenced by ethics when buying a brand
The research, from MediaCom, found that 54% of teenagers aged 16-19 surveyed in the Connected Kids report have either deliberately purchased or stopped using a brand because of its ethics. Teenagers bought from Lush, The Body Shop and Fairtrade due to their ethical policies whereas many teenagers claim to have boycotted Starbucks, MAC and Primark due to ethical reasons.
According to the report, 63% of the youth were more likely to buy from a brand if it supports a cause or charity. Young people tend to be ethically conscious as 57% of them are more likely to pay extra for brands that support causes that are important to them whereas 49% of adults were willing to pay extra. However 37% of teens are sceptical of brands that claim to support good causes.
Furthermore, the majority of teens believe that brands overstate how much they support good causes (69%) as well as exaggerating how much they do to look after the environment (69%). Perhaps surprisingly good quality products (81%) and value for money (80%) topped the list when teens were asked what factors were most important for them when purchasing a brand. Whereas ethical factors such as whether a brand ethically produced its products (43%), no animal testing (42%) and environmentally friendly products (34%) were secondary factors.
Majority of UK public would want to make homes more energy efficient given government support
A YouGov survey revealed that in order to tackle climate change more than 70% percent of the British public was willing to install solar panels and home batteries if there is enough government support. While an impressive number of people have already made an effort to make their home more energy efficient, 62% said they wished to install a solar panel at their home and 60% were willing to buy an energy storage device. A surprising 71% of those surveyed were likely to join a local energy scheme such as a community windfarm or solar panel collective.
44% of UK consumers have boycotted a brand based on its ethics and eco-policies
According to data released by online clothing retailer Clothes2order, it was revealed that almost 50% of the consumers have boycotted a brand based on its ethics and eco-policies. The survey was conducted to find out people’s opinions on eco-friendly brands and ethical practices. It was found that almost 50% of those surveyed research about the brand’s policies before they made a purchase and 44% of them admitted they have boycotted to buy a product based on its ethics or the way it was produced.
The survey found that 45% of Brits were willing to pay more to buy a product that has been produced using green methods. It was revealed that London was the most ethically conscious region as 74.8% of the people were most likely to buy eco-friendly products followed by West Midlands (73.4%), Wales (67.5%), East Midlands(66%) and Northern Ireland(65.2%).
British men lag behind women in leading an ethical lifestyle
According to the findings of Mintel’s research, at a national level, 65% of Brits were trying their best to live more ethically as compared to the previous year. A break down of the statistics showed that women (71%) were making conscious efforts in making their lives more greener as compared to their male counterparts (59%). Impressively, 61% of Brits said they were trying to convince their family and friends to be more ethical. Yet again, men (56%) were less inclined than women (65%) to encourage their friends to adopt an ethical lifestyle.
Research also revealed that recycling is Britain’s top ethical habit. 72% of Brits said they recycle all the time where women (77%) were more likely to be committed to regular recycling as compared to men (67%). While 44% of Brits admit that it was hard to know what can and can’t be recycled. 52% of the young consumers aged 16-24 acknowledge this predicament compared to just 36% of over 65s. Meanwhile 25% of Brits said that their houses were too small to recycle effectively.
The younger adults do not take recycling seriously as 54% of Brits aged 16-24 recycle all the time compared to an average of 72% of all Brits and 89% of over 65s. And yet again women (64%) triumph when it comes to turning the heating off when they were leaving the house whereas only 58% men remember to do that. However, when it comes to water conservation and food waste, men were better than women as 30% of men always try to use less water versus 38% of women. Similarly, 27% of men frequently compost food waste compared to 33% of women. The young were less likely to plan meals to avoid food waste, only 62% of 16-24s plan meals to avoid food waste versus an average of 76% of all Brits and 88% of over 65s.
Mintel revealed that plastic pollution was Britain’s greatest environment issue (47%), followed by climate change and animal welfare both at 37%. This concern was further highlighted as half of the Brits (51%) demand for plastic-free stores and packaging-free stores (43%) and 26% of Brits were only willing to purchase animal-friendly products.
Link: Mintel News
Consumers demand less packaging for organic fresh produce
A survey of 1000 supermarket shoppers of organic carried out by Soil Association Certification in association with England Marketing, has found that 30% would buy more organic produce if it was sold without any packaging, mainly driven by the desire to buy the exact quantity needed. However, the choice of buying organic was heavily dependent on price, locality and buying British. 67% of the respondents expected organic produce to be packaged in a more environmentally friendly way than non organic. The survey also found that the majority of consumers preferred items to be sold in paper, with an equal preference for recyclable plastic and cardboard, followed by biodegradable, but that 72% of people found it hard to identify when packaging was recyclable or biodegradable.
Link: Soil Association
Plastics warning to meat-free eaters in National Vegetarian Week
According to research conducted by Kantar Wordpanel, 29% of evening meals do not contain meat or fish at all. Also, they found that one in ten shoppers bought a meat-free ready meal in January alone, causing sales to rocket by 15% compared to the same time last year.
Link: Kantar Wordpanel
Fairtrade Fortnight 2018 `Come on in Campaign` makes Brits more aware of exploitation in the food chain
According to a survey of 2001 UK adults conducted by Censuswide, it was revealed that around 50% of Brits are uninformed about the exploitation faced by farmers. In order to highlight the issue of exploitation in the food chain in a press event, a giant double doorway on the Millennium Footbridge, London opened onto a banana farm in rural Panama. In 2017, 29% of Brits confessed that they do not think about the producers of food and drinks they purchase, however this year the figure dropped to 26%. Around 50% of the surveyed say that they are unaware of the exploitation in the food chain. Price and quality are key factors for purchasing food to 88% of the shoppers whereas for 71% and 49% of those asked, location and store’s ethical credentials are important respectively.
88% of UK SMEs want to be more sustainable but 70% struggle to make it a reality
‘The Uprising Report’ issued by 18 Feet & Rising, revealed that although nine in 10 (88%) of UK SMEs value sustainability, however 70% struggle to make it a reality and risk falling foul of growing consumer and employee expectations. Research was conducted with 100 CEOs at British SMEs by Censuswide on behalf of 18 Feet & Rising. According to the findings, 40% thought sustainable practices were too costly to implement, and around half (53%) were going to take advice on how to introduce more sustainable practices into their businesses. A further 42% felt that the government has not done much to encourage sustainable business practices. It was reported that M&S has saved £700m from investing in sustainability and has encouraged other businesses to follow suit. The research showed that UK SMEs intended to become more sustainable, with eight in ten ( 80%) SMEs said they will be introducing more ethical practices in the next three to five years. Nearly three quarters (71%) of millennials say sustainability affected shopping choices, this is in line with the high demand from consumers and employees for ethical business practices. Nearly half (43%) said that ethical practices would attract consumers who want to support ‘good’ businesses. 38% of CEOs said that “making a difference in the world” was a key motivator for them whereas 32% said that their objective was to differentiate their business from competition. Furthermore 26% of CEOs said that such practices would attract and retain staff who want to work for a company that “does the right thing”. When asked what ethical practices meant to them, ‘treating people fairly’ ranked the highest (75%). Followed by sourcing manufacturing material responsibly (58%) and maintaining energy efficiency (51%). However, less than a third (30%) believe such practices should include listening to stakeholders other than financial backers, despite the fact it could prove invaluable to business.
Link: 18 Feet & Rising
Purpose-driven British businesses grow 28 times faster than national average
B Corp revealed that certified B Corps in the UK have experienced disproportionate rates of growth, whilst also focusing on their positive impact on people and planet. B Corp was launched in 2015. It is a certification that requires businesses to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency and legal accountability. 150 UK businesses have certified as B Corps joining a community of more than 2400 B Corps globally. 99 per cent of UK B Corps stated they would would recommend to other businesses.
According to statistics, 86% of UK B Corps felt the certification has benefited their business. Also research showed that the average year on year growth rate of UK B Corps was 14%, 28 times higher than the national economic growth of 0.5%- with leading UK B Corp FMCG brands growing on average 21% in 2017 compared to a national average of three per cent across their respective sectors. It can be deduced that B Corp certification can drive financial success in the UK, illustrating that profit and purpose are not mutually exclusive.
Over 66% of consumers have stated they were willing to spend more on goods and services that were committed to making a positive social impact. Over a third (35%) of British B Corps have attracted new audiences since certifying. B Corps has also engaged employees. Prospective employees were seeking brands that were built on purpose, structured around social change, and aligned with their personal values. Around 48% of UK B corps have found that prospective employees were attracted to their businesses specifically because they company was a certified B Corp.
B Corp has paved the way for collaboration between businesses seeking to drive change, by allowing for sharing of best practice and learnings: 81% of British B Corps gained certification to join a community of like-minded businesses and almost half (46%) of B Corp brands say they have already benefited from creating more partnerships with like-minded businesses since certifying.
Link: B Corp
Coffee drinkers want to go green but not on an additional cost
A research conducted by Mintel revealed that 40% of coffee shop customers said that they were willing to pay extra for drinks served in 100% recyclable cups. However, three quarters (73%) of coffee shop customers admit that they would cut back on out of home drinking if prices were to increase. More than half (58%) of consumers said that coffee shops should offer a discount to those using their own travel mugs. Four in five (82%) Brits were of the view that recycling bins should be provided in coffee shops and 73% agreed to the idea that recyclable packaging should be used by restaurants for takeaway and home delivery.
Link: Mintel News
UK sharing participation rises by 60%
A report by the Warwick Business School “Who Shares and Who Doesn’t? Results of the Sharing Economy Consumer Survey 2017” has revealed that the UK sharing economy is growing at a dramatic pace. According to the report, the users of the sharing economy have grown by 60% in 18 months and more educated people were likely to pay for shared services such as Airbnb and Uber. It also revealed that 23% of the UK population made use of shared economy services more than once a month. With the increased use of the internet, sharing services have become popular and it was highly likely that it would continue to grow in the near future. Researchers found that for more than 70% of those surveyed, convenience and saving money was the main motivation to engage in the sharing economy.
Most shoppers are not ready to pay extra for ethical sourcing
A research company Verdict Retail revealed that although 60% of consumers say that retailer’s sustainability/ eco-friendly credentials were important when buying clothes and footwear, however they were not willing to pay more for ethical sourcing whereas they are willing to pay more for style, quality, range and value for money instead. It was found that 15.6% of consumers were unwilling to buy from retailers that were not transparent about their sustainable credentials. Whereas 20.2% weren’t willing to pay more for eco-friendly or sustainable products and only 3% would be willing to pay more that 21% extra. According to Verdict Retail Data, 31.1% did not buy eco-friendly clothing in the past few years because it was too expensive. Availability and range were also key considerations, given that 18.8% of consumers did not purchase sustainable clothing because they felt that they were not not easily available, while 17.5% said that there was not enough choice.
76% of millennials say driving an eco-friendly car is the primary action they’d take to make their lives greener
According to a survey conducted by Nissan, 76% of millennials were in favour of driving eco-friendly cars in order to live a greener life. A sample of 2500 European millennials (aged 18-34) across the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain was considered. The study revealed that millennials as consumers were very concerned about their future and were willing to take necessary steps in order to live a sustainable life. In order to fight global challenges such as climate change and air pollution, they were willing to make bold changes in their lifestyles such as switching to an energy provider dedicated to eco-friendly solutions (62%) or supporting eco-friendly brands (53%). Perhaps surprisingly, 77% of millennials surveyed owned a car. Many did not own an eco-friendly car but more than half of them intended to buy an electric car in the next 10 years.
Fairtrade Mark used by consumers to decide if products were ethical or not
A Globescan study in 2015 for Fairtrade revealed that just 44% of those surveyed believed that companies could be trusted to be ethical, while 78% also thought companies should be a lot more ethical than they currently were. 71% stated that they used the Fairtrade Mark to decide if the product was ethical or nor.
Link Fairtrade Foundation
Seafood consumers put sustainability before price and brand
Global independent research carried by GlobeScan on behalf of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has found that sustainability is a key driver for seafood purchase. Taking a sample of 16000 seafood consumers in 21 countries revealed that sustainability is top rated, followed by proce and brand. Approximately 72% of seafood consumers agreed that sustainable seafood should only be purchased in order to save the oceans. 85% of those surveyed purchased seafood on a regular basis and showed their concern over ocean sustainability.
68% said people should consume sustianable seafood. Older consumers were more concerned about sustainability as 75% of seafood consumers aged 55 or more agreed to switch to sustainable seafood sources only compared to 67% of 18-34 year old. 68% stated that brands and supermarkets should independently verify their claims regarding sustainability, whereas 62% said that if they purchased eco-labelled seafood they would be ensuring more fish for the future generations.
The same number 62% said that eco-labels on seafood products raised their trust and confidence in the brand. 86% of consumers who have seen the label said that they trust it and are positive about the organisation’s impact. While 10% of the world’s wild caught seafood is MSC certified, 37% of all the seafood consumers admitted to have seen an MSC eco-label. The MSC label has been seen by 41% of the younger respondents aged 18-34 as compared to 30% of those who are 55 or above.
Of those who have seen the eco-label, 64% were likely to recommend it to others. 54% of seafood consumers said they were prepared to pay more for a certified sustainable seafood product. According to the respondents, NGOs (41%) and scientific organisations (36%) were the most effective in protecting the oceans whereas governments and businesses were ranked as least effective.
Veganism is on the rise in the UK
A survey of 9933 adults conducted by Ipsos MORI revealed that more than half a million people followed a vegan diet. Since veganism has taken off, more vegan festivals are being held in the UK.
Link: Ipsos MORI
Consumers prefer non-traditional banks over traditional banks
According to a report ‘ Seducing the Runaway Customer’ by Sopra Banking, 14% Brits would choose an ethical bank over other banks i.e. traditional bank, community bank and pure online bank. Traditional banks (55%) were ranked at the top followed by pure online banks (16%), ethical bank, a new twist on a traditional bank(8%) and community bank (7%).
Link: Sopra Banking
Study revealed that Middle-aged Brits were highly likely to be engaged in ethical buying
A survey conducted by Warwick Business School revealed that young and old shoppers were less likely to engage in ethical buying, whereas middle aged Brits were more likely to purchase fairtrade and organic goods at supermarkets. These findings are in contrast with the commonly held view that people become more ethical as they grow older. Although younger buyers were more likely to recommend ethical products as opposed to older people, they were less likely to buy those ethical products themselves. A common misperception that women are more ethical than men was also shattered as the study failed to find any difference between the shopping habits of the two genders.
More than half (55%) of seafood consumers doubt seafood labels
A survey of more than 16,000 seafood consumers, conducted by Marine Stewardship Council(MSC) showed that more than 55% doubt that the seafood they consume is what it says on the packet. Across the 21 countries surveyed, 65% of those purchasing seafood said that they wanted to know that their fish could be traced back to a known and trusted source, where 63% admitted that they considered eco-labels as trusted source of information. In 2015, DNA test of a random sample of 257 MSC labelled seafood products revealed that 99% of the seafood products were correctly labelled.
Grocery prices experience a fall in price
Research conducted by shopping and comparison website, mysupermarket.co.uk found the cost of a basket of 35 most commonly bought products, to be £85.83 in February 2016, making it the lowest recorded price. Some of the products have dropped by 14% in price compared to 2015. In February 2016, the products that fell the most in price were onions and carrots dropping by 6% compared with the previous month. Mushrooms and broccoli also dropped more than 13% compared to the beginning of 2015, while bananas and cucumbers have dropped more than 10%. However food items such as pasta, crisps and baked beans rose in price by 6%, 4% and 3% respectively.
The Demand For Organic Food Continues To Grow
According to the Organic Market Report by Soil Association, the UK organic sector was worth £1.95 billion and experienced a steady growth of 4.9% in 2015. With the increase in the demand of organic groceries, the non-organic grocery market has experienced a decline in sales by 0.9% in the same period. It was found that shoppers had spent an extra £1.73 million a week on organic products in 2015. The growth in the UK organic market mirrors a global trend of growth and interest in the organic sector. The key findings of the report highlighted that organic products sales in supermarkets had grown by 3.2%, organic product sales for independent retailers has increased by 7.5%, box schemes and online sales of organic products experienced a growth of 9.1%, likewise the organic catering sector had increased by 15.2% and the organic health and beauty market increased by 21.6% to £54.2 million. The report also found that organic had a 1.4% share of the food and drink market and more than £9 million was spent of organic food through the Soil Association Catering Mark.
Climate change worries British citizens
According to a poll commissioned by ActionAid, concerns regarding climate change have been growing as more than a third (38%) of the British public have been more worried as compared to five years ago. Of these people, a quarter (25%) were more concerned about the negative impact it could have on the developing countries. The poll results showed that 53% were unhappy with how global leaders were tackling the situation. The poll conducted by YouGov revealed that 52% of the 2073 adults surveyed were worried about climate change generally.
Three-quarters of Brits would expect financial compensation if they were harmed: Survey
A survey conducted by fair trade organisation, Traidcraft showed that 75% of Britons would expect financial compensation if the actions of a UK company resulted in loss or harm to them or their family member. As UK companies become increasingly global, it is inevitable that big corporations will have an impact on workers and communities in the developing world. Whilst some companies work hard to minimise their impact, there is a minority that continue to make decisions which result in harm, mistreatment, abuse or even death to those living in developing countries such as Tanzania, Bangladesh and Nigeria.
Ethical jewellery becomes popular as sales increase by 60% in 2015
The first fairtrade jewellery company, known as CRED Jewellery was launched by Greg Valerio in 1996. In 2015, sales increased by 60% for engagement rings, 50% on eternity rings and 46% for wedding rings.
Link: CRED Website
Government hushes up critical consumer and trading standards reports
A report “Consumer Empowerment Survey Report” published by The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) was not given any press release announcement and no further comments came from BIS ministers or other staff.
The study was carried out by GfK NOP Social Research and was designed to gain a better understanding of the attitudes of groups of consumers and to build a stronger picture about the characteristics and engagement levels. The report found that 57% of those surveyed said they felt very confident about making complaints post-purchase, but that only 32% were confident that the law would protect them.
Soil Association Organic Market Report 2015 shows health and beauty sales up 20%
The Soil Association’s Organic Market Report 2015 revealed that UK sales of certified organic health and beauty products has increased by 20% in 2014 amounting to £44.6 million. Also, Soil Association symbol holders has increased by 51% while export revenue of UK companies in this sector topped £10 million for the first time. Overall, sales of organic products such as groceries, beauty, textiles and catering increased by 4% in 2014. In 2015, shoppers spent an extra £1.4 million weekly on organic products and the organic market products exceeded £1.86 million. Organic beauty brands have significantly increased in number where Neal’s Yard Remedies, a leading organic beauty brand, has witnessed an increase of 12% in 2014. Odylique has experienced a 50% increase in exports year on year. Pai Skincare has also saw it sales double in 2014. According a consumer research carried out by Organic Monitor, for 90% of UK consumers who buy natural and organic health and beauty products ‘avoidance of synthetic chemical’ is very important. Whereas 43% said that they look for certification such as assurance symbols and logos on personal care products- up from 33% in 2007. The Soil Association symbol is the most sought after for certified products with nearly 30% shoppers said they look for it.
Link: Soil Association
Tax avoidance and executive pay are the top most issues that need to be addressed: Survey
A report ‘February 2015 Insights Pack’ by IPSOS MORI found that corporate tax avoidance (35%), executive pay (34%) and employees being able to speak out about company wrongdoing (20%) were the most important issues in the eyes of consumers which needed to be addressed. This was followed by bribery and corruption (19%), exploitative labour (19%), discrimination (18%), human rights (15%), fair and open pricing of products/services (13%), harassment and bullying at workplace (13%), advertising and marketing practices (11%), environmental responsibility (11%), safety and security in the workplace (10%), openness with information (9%), work-home balance for employees (8%), security of information and treatment of suppliers (5%).
Link: IPSOS MORI
A majority of British consumers expected retailers and restaurants to provide sustainable seafood options: Survey
Independent research, conducted on behalf of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) questioned 610 regular seafood buyers in the UK, and 9019 across 15 countries in Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America. The poll found that the vast majority of British consumers expect sustainable seafood options to be provided in supermarkets and restaurants. The poll showed that 71% of UK respondents said they believed that it is important that supermarkets sell sustainably caught seafood. While 60% agreed that restaurants should show they have sustainable seafood options available, even though only 6% said they had seen seafood eco-labels on the menu when they ate out. Respondents also said they trusted eco-labels on products (61%) more than recommendations from family/friends (57%), information from supermarkets (48%) and the brand’s own promise on products (41%).
Ocean sustainability was important to almost all (90%) of the respondents globally, with 55% of them believing that falling fish stock has gained importance as compared to the previous year. In the UK, 67% of respondents agreed that buying seafood from sustainable sources would help to ensure fish stocks for future generations, slightly higher than the global average of 60%.
Respondents are of the idea that supermarkets and restaurants can play a key role in ensuring the sustainability of seafood. 65% of those surveyed agreed that it’s important for supermarkets to make sure that they are selling sustainably caught fish. Globally, the number of seafood products carrying the MSC eco-label increased fivefold to more than 25,000 between 2010 and 2014. Around two-thirds of the respondents were intending to buy more MSC labelled seafood in the near future while the same proportion said that they would advise friends and family to do the same. The survey also found that 33% of the regular seafood buyers recognise the MSC eco-label. This represents an increase of 8% compared with countries surveyed in 2010. The worldwide retail market value of consumer facing MSC eco-labelled sustainable seafood reached US$4.8 billion in 2013-14, an increase of 147 per cent since 2010. It was found that globally price (79%) was one of the primary factors determining seafood purchasing decisions, followed by traceability of the product (66%) and its sustainability (61%). However, respondents were willing to pay a little more for a product with an eco-label (39% compared with 32% in 2010). The demand for traceable products was most significant in the UK, rising from 61% in 2012 to 67% in 2014.
Link: Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
UK investors lagging behind Europe in social impact investments
Research by Tooley Street Research, commissioned by Oikocredit revealed that the UK lagged significantly behind some of its European competitors in social impact investments. Statistics showed that UK investors have contributed a total of €1.4 billion in social impact investments, equivalent to €22 per head, securing a sixth position in the European league table. Whereas investors in the Netherlands are well ahead, with the total contributions equating to around €524 per head. Followed by Switzerland (519.99), Sweden(109.7), Italy(32.95), Austria(25.51), Germany(16.91) and France(15.49). While in Spain, social impact investment contributions equate to just €2 per capita.
The total European impact investment market was worth around €20 bn in 2014 and is still growing dramatically. The main contributors to impact investment financial products were high net worth individuals, charitable foundations, pension funds and insurers. Only 3.4% of socially responsible investment came from individual retail investors, but research- cited by the Cabinet Office- suggested that the UK has a growing appetite in this area.
Brits have been quick to adopt ethical retail choices such as buying fair trade food and clothing. The UK represents the world’s largest fair trade market, with over £1.7bn of fair trade products bought in 2013. However, ethical and sustainable financial choices appeared to fall far behind, often due to the lack of understanding and readily available information. Polling showed that only 1 in 5 Brits said that ethical and sustainable finance options were easily available.
Link: Tooley Street Research
Environmental, social and governance play an important role in the investment process
A survey of 60 asset managers by Aviva research team revealed that Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) factors were pivotal to the investment process. 92% of respondents believed that ESG factors were relevant to their broader business. Whereas 88% of fund managers believed ESG factors were important to their clients. While 70% stated that risk management was the top driver for integrating ESG into mainstream investment processes. Respondents with a dedicated ESG resource stand at 65%, an increase from 42% in 2012, with 68% subscribing to an ESG information provider. This is an increase from 55% in 2012. The multi-manager survey also reveals that 37% of respondents have someone at the executive board level with responsibility for ESG, a figure which has remained largely unchanged since 2012. In addition, only 10% of respondents appeared to tie any ESG goals to remuneration schemes. 84% of respondents have a voting policy for stocks, in line with the figure reported in 2012, with close to 50% publicly disclosing how they have voted.
UK homeowners not as 'green' as they think
Most UK adults like to think of themselves as 'green' and 'energy efficient' but their practices reveal a different story. In a survey of 2,000 UK adults conducted by nPower, 72% said they made an effort to be energy efficient at home, with 48% declaring that they were ‘green’. However, during this year's cold spring, 51% turned the heating on, with 22% turning the thermostat up rather than putting on a jumper. Additionally, 38% of households have not installed any improvements to help reduce their energy use, and 85% of people don’t think twice about the environment when they turn the heating up. Only 23% of people realised that taking steps to improve energy efficiency could keep their home warmer, and only 50% know those steps could also lead to lower bills.
Four in 10 might join consumer boycott over tax avoidance
A Guardian/ICM poll has found that 42% of consumers may boycott big corporations who fail to pay enough tax. The survey found that 21% of those questioned agreed that it was "very likely" they would refuse to use brands that have made headlines over their tax affairs, including Amazon, Starbucks and Google. Another 20% said it was "quite likely" they would support a boycott. A further 31% said it was "not very likely" they would stop using a company because of its tax stance and 24% said it was not likely at all. The figures show a wide disparity by age. Only 28% of the youngest voters, aged 18 to 24, say they would be likely to refuse to use tax-avoiding brands, compared with 54% of over-65s. This disparity is even starker among those who say they would be "very likely" to withdraw their custom over tax: just 14% of 18-24s; 15% of the 25s-34s; 22% of the 35-64s; and 30% of those aged 65 and up.
Significant minority of affluent consumers putting ethics over price
A significant minority of affluent consumers consider ethical and environmental issues when deciding where to shop and what to buy. In its annual survey of adults from the opinion-leading and high-spending A and B social grades, Kantar Media's Premier TGI study identified a sizeable group of 'ethical consumers' (11% of all upmarket consumers in Britain) who "definitely agree" that it is important that a company acts ethically and also agree that they would be prepared to pay more for environmentally friendly products. These ethical consumers also actively make green choices in their day-to-day lives: they are 55% more likely than the average upmarket adult to re-use empty items like bottles and jars, and they are 46% more likely to make an effort to cut down on the use of gas and electricity at home. When it comes to their motivation to work and do business, they are 65% more likely to think social responsibility is the most important factor, indicating their ethical views transcend both their personal and professional lives.
One in three are voting with their wallet following tax revelations
A ComRes survey about public perceptions around tax avoidance, commissioned by Christian Aid, found a third (34%) of Britons say that they are currently boycotting the products or services of a company because it does not pay its fair share of tax in the UK. Almost half (45%) say they are considering a boycott. Public outrage appears to be growing following recent revelations about the remarkably small amount of UK tax paid by some multinationals: 66% of Britons now believe tax avoidance to be morally wrong (up from 56% in 2012) and 80% said that multinationals’ tax avoidance makes them feel angry. Joseph Stead, Senior Economic Justice Adviser at Christian Aid, said “what this survey shows is that one in three people are actually prepared to change their buying habits and boycott some of the firms seen as not paying their fair share in the UK. This surely must be a wake-up call to all businesses.”
Priorities and values predicted to play a bigger role in shaping consumer decisions
In 2013 leading social forecaster, Patricia Aburdene, predicts that priorities and values will play a bigger role in shaping spending decisions, with key concepts like practical, quality, meaningful, simplicity, chemical-free, local and sustainable being what encourages consumers to open their wallets. The financial stress brought about by the economic crisis of 2008 is fuelling the popularity of sharing trends, such as Zipcar, and is likely to expand to other industries such as tools and baby gear as consumers readjust their spending patterns to focus less on conspicuous consumption and more on making thoughtful choices with their money. Aburdene also predicts that transparency, fair trade and third-party verification will gain more traction, with more shoppers being drawn to seals of approval from groups like Greenpeace and the Rain Forest Alliance when purchasing goods.
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.
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%).
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.
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.
New study reveals 'sustainable generation' of future business leaders
A new study suggests that current graduates, managers and MBA students constitute a 'sustainable generation' who will be the business leaders of tomorrow. Examining the attitudes and ambitions of this up-and-coming group, ‘The Sustainable Generation: The Sky Future Leaders Study’ suggest that, having grown up with issues like environmental protection and social responsibility as a constant feature in their lives, tomorrow’s business leaders are knowledgeable about sustainability and are clear that there is a strong business case for addressing social and environmental issues. 70% agree that sustainability can create new opportunities for business and 78% believe that UK business are making a genuine effort to fully integrate sustainability into their operations. However, just 3% believe companies are fully succeeding and only 27% think companies make such claims because they genuinely believe them to be true. The report contains a five point plan for better integrating sustainability into their practices, including taking more responsibility for supply change sustainability credentials and integrating sustainability into values and decisions.
Consumers 'more aware' of products' origins
A new study by UL says that 57% of consumers say they are “always or usually” aware of a product’s country of origin and that, while 67% of people said that product quality is better today than it was 5 years ago, 75% think manufacturers don’t use the best-quality materials and don’t follow environmentally friendly procedures. The study, entitled 'The Product Mindset', also suggests that environmental concerns and consumer interest in the origin of their devices is going to be playing a major part in brand and marketing over the next few years.
Consumer influence over brands growing
Consumers are increasingly aware of how their purchasing decisions influence the success of a brand and 91% of consumers are influenced by brands' ethical values, according to a study commissioned by EA Worldwide. The study of 1,000 people found that nearly 75% would like to know more about brands' commitments to environmental issues, relationships with charitable organisations and behaviour towards loyal customers. EA Worldwide claims that many big brands are beginning to take notice of how consumers view these environmental issues and that consumers now drive how a brand evolves and how successful it will be.
Consumers call on banks to give something back to society
Three out of four UK savers feel banks should do more to help society, according to recent research from leading ethical bank Triodos. With dissatisfaction from the UK public around the banking sector continuing, 74% of savers think banks should help society, compared with 15% who think they shouldn't. 64% wanted to see more investment in community and social groups and 62% would like to see banks doing more to support renewable energy initiatives. A quarter of respondents want to see greater investment in organic farming and one in five feel the arts and culture deserve more support from the banking community.
Sustainable lifestyles to be mainstream by 2020
Sustainable products and services will be mainstream by 2020, according to a study by Forum for the Future, Sainsbury’s and Unilever. The survey, designed to help the consumer goods industry meet the needs of the consumer of the future, predicts that household brands and retailers will help make green living normal and easier for millions of people around the world, and that progress towards sustainable consumption will not be knocked off course by a weak global economy. The study contains four scenarios which explore how global trends may change our world, consumer behaviour and the consumer goods industry over the next decade. In each scenario social and environmental pressures drive sustainable goods and services into the mainstream, whether or not consumers actively demand them and regardless of whether the global economy is thriving or subdued.
Most Brits don’t know how their savings are invested
Nearly four-fifths of Britons don’t know how or where their savings are invested, according to research conducted for Charity Bank. Of 2,000 UK nationals surveyed, just over half (51%) of those surveyed care where their ISA deposits are invested but only 13% said they were aware that they could purchase an ISA whereby 100% of the money goes towards helping charities and other community organisations. ‘The survey results show that people do care where their savings go, but there is still a lot of work to be done to raise the profile of ethical banking,’ said Charity Bank CEO Malcolm Hayday.
Rising consumer demand for companies to lower their carbon footprints
A study by the Carbon Trust has found that nearly half of shoppers (45%) would shun brands that don't take steps to measure and reduce the carbon footprints of their products (up from 22% last year) but that only 59% of FTSE 100 companies have clear, robust targets to cut carbon emissions. When asked whether they would buy low carbon labelled goods over non-labelled goods of identical quality, the survey found that 47% are more likely to choose low carbon labelled goods over non-labelled and 21% would pay more for carbon labelled products. The analysis also found that leading companies are seeking to exploit revenue generating opportunities from the low carbon economy. The Kingfisher Group (trading as B&Q and Screwfix in the UK) increased its sales of independently verified Eco products to £1.1 billion, accounting for 10.5% of total retail sales across the Group.
Labelling and price barriers to choosing healthy, local, ethically produced food
Seven in ten people say that buying sustainable fish is important, but only 30% say that they buy sustainable fish, because a third of people aren’t sure how to choose sustainable fish products and are confused by labelling, according to research published by Defra. The figures indicate that people’s preferences don’t always match what they ultimately buy, with price being a major factor in many people’s buying decisions. While people rated buying British seasonal produce and whether their food was produced ethically as the least important choices, nearly two thirds of people still considered these to be important considerations when buying food, with most shoppers saying they actively seek to buy healthy foods (82%) and British seasonal produce (72%). Of those people who do look to buy seasonal fruit and vegetables, almost half think seasonal food tastes better and two thirds prefer to buy according to the season, with 30 per cent saying they want to support British farmers.
Organic textile sales defy economic downturn
Retail sales of organic textiles in the UK have defied the economic downturn, growing by an estimated 7.8% in 2010, with turnover of organic businesses certified by the Soil Association increasing 35% to £12 million, according to the Soil Association’s latest Organic Market Report. There are currently 2,750 Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) licensees across five continents, up from 27 five years ago and organic cotton accounts for around 91% of UK organic textile sales.
Transport industry under pressure to prioritise green solutions
An independent survey by Trelleborg Marine Systems has highlighted the growing pressure on major transport hubs to lower carbon emissions throughout the supply chain. 8 out of 10 port owners, consultants and contractors claim to be faced by some pressure to use sustainable or 'green' materials when specifying port equipment. The report also indicates that consultants acting on behalf of ports, terminals and harbours face the biggest demands with 86% admitting to some, significant or constant pressure to prioritise green solutions.
Environmental issues come last for car-buyers
Research by Bosch has revealed that despite 69% of drivers claiming to do their best for the environment, only 5% of motorists buying a new car would be influenced by a car’s ‘green’ credentials. The ‘Bosch: Driving Green Britain’ surveyed over 1000 car buyers. When asked to rank what was the main influence behind their purchase decision, 63% said that price was the most important factor, closely followed by vehicle size (56%). Design, style, brand and safety all rated ahead of a car’s environmental considerations. Women were found to be more likely to consider environmental aspects when choosing a car, while men perceived electric cars to be more environmentally friendly than hybrids. 18 to 24 year olds would be more likely to drive a hybrid car than any other age group.
Desire to shop ethically not translating into practice
A new report into the ethical and economic issues that face UK shoppers in 2010, reveals that 55% of UK shoppers feel they cannot afford to act on their ethical principles, and 77% admit that higher prices are preventing them from buying more environmentally friendly products. 65% of shoppers agreed that they don't want to pay more for environmentally or socially friendly products if the taste/quality isn't any better. The report by Shoppercentric also found that 39% of shoppers say that they want to make sure that the money they do spend benefits British (local) businesses, but that only 30% were changing their habits to support local shops more. At the same time, more shoppers than ever claim to be making a point of buying environmentally/socially friendly packaged groceries (52% compared with 43% in 2008) and under-25s are showing the most interest in shopping “ethically”, with 65 percent of these keen to buy environmentally/socially friendly products compared to 52% on average.
Consumers demanding more social commitment from brands and companies
UK consumers are placing increased demand on companies, brands, and themselves to step up their social commitment, according to new findings from the 3rd annual Edelman goodpurpose™ Consumer Study, which surveyed 6,000 people in 10 countries. The study found that 77% of UK respondents are willing to change their consumption habits if it can help make the world a better place to live and 55% expect brands to support a good cause in their day-to-day business. 83% said they would prefer a brand that supports the livelihood of local producers than a designer brand (17%)and 58% said they would switch brands if another brand of similar quality supported a good cause. More than twice as many people (63%) would prefer to drive a hybrid car overa luxury car (38%) and 69% would prefer to live in an eco-friendly house overa big house (31%).
Half of European shoppers will buy more ethical food and drink in the future
Half of shoppers across four European countries expect to be buying more food and grocery products with ethical credentials in the future, according to consumer research published by IGD. Top of the list of ethical issues that interest shoppers is food from their local area, with a third (35%) saying that they will buy more in the future. This was followed by Fairtrade (24%) and animal welfare (also 24%), and finally organic with a fifth (21%) of shoppers supportive. IGD surveyed 2,700 shoppers about ethical issues during summer 2010 in Great Britain, Germany, France and Spain. Interest in ethical shopping is varied among the four countries surveyed. For example, British and German shoppers expect to be buying more local and regional food in the future, while organic is increasingly popular in France and Spain.
Over half of Britons recycling and using eco-friendly products.
Eight out of ten Brits are now taking active, conscious steps to be more environmentally friendly, according to a survey of 3,000 UK residents commissioned by Vileda. 56% use council-provided household recycling bins on a daily basis and 57% are now regularly using eco-friendly products, although 72% of those polled believe that manufacturers aren’t doing enough to be ‘green’. 21% say they do nothing to help the environment, but only 3% do not recycle at all.
Organic market feels the recession, but remains robust
The economic downturn has hit the organic market, with sales of organic products in the UK in 2009 down by 12.9% on the previous year. Nevertheless, the Soil Association predicts market expansion of 2-5% in 2010 and over 60% of the UK's biggest organic brands are planning for growth. The proportion of households buying some organic food fell slightly in 2009, from 88.9% to 88.3%, while sales of organic milk, baby food and home cooking ingredients increasing by 1%, 20.8% and 1.4% respectively. Despite a drop in the market, sales of organic food were still more than three times higher than ten years previously and more than 50% higher than five years ago. Sales of organic health and beauty products continued to grow, increasing by a third to £36 million and the area of organic land increased by 9% on the previous year, up to 4.3% of agricultural land.
Support for local food doubles in five years
Nearly a third (30%) of shoppers say they have specifically purchased locally produced food over the last month, double the number in 2006, according to new consumer research by food and grocery analysts IGD. Support for ethically produced foods in general has so far withstood the pressures of the recession and is in fact growing, despite the tough economic conditions. When asked about food they have specifically purchased over the last month, 30% said locally produced food (up from 15% in 2006), 27% said Fairtrade products (up from 9%) and 18% said products with high animal welfare standards (up from 11%). When asked about their reasons for supporting local food in particular, most said that it was fresher, but the biggest riser over the last few years has been support for local producers and farmers (54%, up from 28% in 2006).
The Cooperative and coffee dominate 'ethical goods' perceptions
Research carried out for Marketing Week shows that the brand most heavily associated with the term “fair trade” is The Co-op, with 40% of consumers identifying it as the first brand they think of when asked to consider fair trade products. However, although 56% of people claim they would look to The Co-op to buy such goods rather than Tesco (55%), Sainsbury's (50%) or Asda (40%), when people actually buy fair trade products, they do so most often at Tesco (35%), while The Co-op sits behind at 32%. The study also found that few consumers are aware of the diversity of products or the range of retailers that stock them. While 72% of people know that coffee can be bought with fair trade certification, with 63% for tea and 58% for chocolate, just 10% are aware that fair trade flowers exist, and only 6% are aware of fair trade beauty products.