More and more of us are becoming aware of the impact we have on the environment. We attempt to make amends by recycling where possible, finding ways to use renewable energy and questioning whether the brands we buy from have the same ideals.
We carried out a survey of 1,000 people and discovered more and more of us are concerned about the environment and want to buy from brands who are eco-friendly.
Interestingly, 65% of women said that they buy more from eco-friendly brands compared to 62% of men.
The survey also discovered that those aged 16-24 were more likely to boycott a brand if it didnít match their ideas around ethical practices. 74% of those surveyed said that it would influence their decision of who to buy from.
Plastic has been dominating the news lately, as the BBC wildlife series Blue Planet shocked viewers with images of plastic littering the seas and impacting wildlife. This could be one of the reasons why concern around removing the amount of plastic used in products came up high on peopleís list of priorities. Over 55s were the age group who believed this to be the most important, while 60.9% of people believe recycling should be a top priority for businesses.
Since the show aired, Wetherspoons pubs, McDonalds and Pizza Express have banned plastic straws in their restaurants, the BBC has vowed to ban plastic use across its operations by 2020 and Iceland has introduced a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.
Brands may not believe consumers care all that much about where their purchases come from but the survey has highlighted that more and more of us are now researching a brandís ethical and eco policies before buying from them.
The survey looked into why people are now moving towards this trend. Were they really concerned about the environment, was there an influence from friends or family or is it simply a case of feeling obliged to do so?
The survey also found people genuinely care about the impact theyíre having on the world. They understand that the time is now if we are going to make a change and claw back some of the damage that has been done to the environment. They want to feel good about their purchases and know that although they are enjoying some retail therapy, theyíre still doing the right thing.
When it came to eco friendly buying, the survey found opinions differed around the country. London came out as the region most likely to buy from eco-friendly brands (74.8% of those who took part said that they would definitely or possibly buy those types of products) while those in Yorkshire and the Humber were less inclined (only 45.3% said that they were likely to buy from eco-friendly brands).
Those surveyed in the East of England were more likely to boycott a brand, based on its ethics (25.9%) - while those in Yorkshire and Humber said they would not boycott a brand (68.6%). Northern Ireland (65.2%), Wales (65%) and Scotland (63.4%) also said they would not boycott brands because of their ethics or the way their products are produced.
The trainer brandís aim is to have zero waste and does not use toxic substances to reduce its impact on the environment.
This fashion brand has been working to ethical practices for 25 years, only partnering with Fair Trade producers, farmers and factories.
This accessories brand creates 100% vegan bags and purses - ensuring no animals are harmed for fashion.
The grocery chain is a strong advocate for Fair Trade products and has worked for 20 years to promote ethically sourced products.
Since 1994, Clipper has been a Fair Trade partner and regularly visits the farms and factories that produce the tea leaves it uses to ensure workers are treated fairly and the impact on the environment is minimal.
The brand only works with suppliers that treat workers fairly and visits factories overseas regularly to ensure they meet the right conditions.
This high end fashion brand has a strong ethical approach when working with suppliers and factories, ensuring workers are paid fairly and treated well. It also sources all wood products ethically, abiding by the EU Timber regulations and only using PEFC certified paper.
We know that having a truly ethical product costs a little more - as you need to find an alternative to an everyday, cheaper solution. But we asked consumers if they would be happy to cover the difference.
Even though consumers take time to look for brands that have eco-friendly practices, the survey found they donít always believe theyíre fully committed. In fact, 21% of people believe brands only adopt eco-friendly behaviour for marketing purposes. Men are apparently more skeptical when it comes to a brandís ethical policies.
According to some of those who were surveyed, implementing eco-friendly practices is something the Government should be supporting.
34.7% of people surveyed believe the Government needs to get more serious about environmental issues and that it should spend more money on eco-innovations to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint.
27.2% of people also believe that brands who are not environmentally friendly should pay more tax, in a bid to encourage them to look into better procedures and materials for their products. They also feel those who do try to accommodate environmentally friendly approaches should be subsidised by the Government.
In conclusion, yes. Consumers care about a brandís green footprint and its ethical practices. If you havenít yet looked into how you can improve your companyís eco-friendliness, it may be time to delve into the issue. In the future, it could make or break whether people buy from you.