The rocky green road gets a little smoother

  • Brand
  • November 1, 2011
  • Deirdre Robert
The rocky green road gets a little smoother

Not convinced about the sustainability argument when it comes to the purchasing behaviour of consumers? Think again. The latest Colmar Brunton ‘Better Business Better World’ survey results reveal that sustainability influenced the purchasing decisions of 88 percent of respondents. That bodes well for purchasing potential, but on the flip side the survey also found that 72 percent couldn’t think of any brand leaders in sustainability. And if ever there was concern that the term ‘sustainability’ is still perhaps ambiguous in definition to some people, the survey found 20 percent of respondents didn’t know what it meant. 

Jacqueline Ireland, managing director of Colmar Brunton said the results show there’s plenty of opportunities for businesses to help consumers make greener purchasing decisions by promoting their products’ green credentials in a “simple but innovate way”.

But, champion those green credentials all you like, the survey found that at the end of the day price still matters most. With the cost of living the top concern keeping Kiwis up at night (up from third place in 2010), less than 5 percent of respondents said they would pay more for the sustainable option. However, the vast majority (84 percent) would choose it if it cost the same.

The survey also showed a gap between the attitudes and behaviour of consumers. For example, 42 percent believe it’s important to not use plastic supermarket bags but only 28 percent refrain from doing so. Along the same lines, 21 percent believe it’s important to use public transport, yet only 8 percent do so.

And what of our perception of New Zealand as a clean and green country? 94 percent believe NZ’s clean green image is an important marketing advantage for our food exports and tourism, while 4 percent disagree. Asked if the ‘100% Pure’ adage is a worthwhile vision to aspire to, 94 percent agreed , with 5 percent disagreeing.

The top three concerns keeping Kiwis up at night have remained the same for three years running, but ‘cost of living’ has shot from third to first place, and ‘violence in society’ has slipped down to second, followed by ‘crime levels’ which was third. ‘Stability of global financial system’ has shot up six places to become Kiwis’ eighth biggest concern.








So, what does all of this mean for businesses wishing to tread the greener path? Ireland offers this piece of advice:

“Businesses need to make it easy, personal, rewarding and fun for consumers, and keep making it better. Innovation and design, or performance, are still key.”

The ‘Better Business Better World’ survey captured the opinions of 1000 people online, representing a national spread of age, gender and region. This is the third year the survey has been in place.

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