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Environmental concerns spur change in shopping habits

More consumers are changing the way they shop in an effort to reduce environmental impacts, Consumer NZ’s latest survey has found.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said six out of 10 Kiwis agreed environmental considerations were very important to them and looked for “greener” products.

More consumers were also opting to get goods repaired rather than replaced.

“Forty-seven percent said they ‘always’ or ‘usually’ tried to get products repaired. That’s up from 43 percent in our previous survey,” Ms Chetwin said.

The survey found demand for organic produce had risen as well. One in five consumers were regularly buying organic when available.

Ms Chetwin said the ban on single-use plastic bags had led to a sharp rise in the proportion of consumers regularly taking reusable bags when shopping.

“Two years ago, 44 percent of consumers were taking reusable bags most of the time. That’s doubled to 88 percent.”

Fifty-two percent said they “always” or “usually” tried to avoid products with too much packaging, up from 42 percent in Consumer NZ’s 2018 survey.

However, Ms Chetwin said consumers wanting to do the right thing faced major hurdles sorting genuinely greener goods from the fake.

The survey found 72 percent of consumers thought it was hard to find which products really were better choices, an increase from 68 percent.

Sixty-nine percent also felt companies weren’t doing enough to reduce the environmental impacts of their products.

Ms Chetwin said trust in green claims remained unchanged. Only 51 percent felt environmental claims could be trusted.

“That finding isn’t surprising. We routinely uncover products making bogus ‘green’ claims. The companies making them are not only misleading consumers but they’re also breaching the Fair Trading Act,” she said.


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