CONSUMERS WILL pay more for greener products but are not sure businesses are taking the environment seriously enough.
A quarter of UK shoppers are prepared to pay more for green goods and services. That's three times more than 2011, according to Nielsen research this summer, as was due to greater availability of eco-products and improved marketing.
Last month the Carbon Trust published the results of a YouGov survey that also showed consumers have maintained an interest in environmental issues. Of 1,819 adults polled, only 6% said they were less likely to buy a sustainable product an/or service than five years ago while 275 said they were more likely. Some 43% said there had been no change in their buying pattern.
For those who were going green more often, increased concern about the impact on the environment of what they buy was the most important reason (45%). For those not choosing to purchase more sustainable products, price was the key factor (40%); 23% said the products were no better than standard ones.
The appetite to buy greener products – and pay more for them – is good news, as is the fact that 43% of those surveyed said they were living a more environmentally sustainable life than five years ago. Only 5% said their life was less sustainable than in 2008.
Not so good, however, are the findings on consumer perceptions of companies. While the public are more aware of green products, 68% were unable to name a company taking the issue of environmental sustainability seriously. Of those that could, Marks and Spencer and the Co-operative Group came first and second. More surprising, perhaps, was Tesco’s position in third place and, even more so, BP’s fourth – ahead of Sainsbury’s.
The Carbon Trust’s chief executive, Tom Delay, said the findings suggest that even those companies that are communicating their actions as more sustainable are not yet directly associated with taking responsibility for the environment. Consumers are also split in their views on whether businesses are taking the environment seriously enough – 48% said they are taking it as seriously or more so, while 38% felt UK firms were taking the environment less seriously than five years ago or not seriously enough.