Paul Roper, chief commercial officer at CouriersPlease

Nine in 10 Australian consumers are more likely to purchase ethical and sustainable products according to new research, with the survey also revealing that 85 per cent of consumers want retailers and brands to be more transparent about the sustainability of their products.

The fashion industry is expected to contribute more than a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050.

Conducted by an independent, nationally representative panel of 1002 Australians and commissioned by leading parcel delivery service CouriersPlease, the report found that NSW residents top the states in this space at 87 per cent, with Queensland and the ACT just trailing behind at 85 and 68 per cent respectively.

“Conversations around working and producing products sustainable and ethically have circulated across most industries for some time now, but not everyone has taken it seriously,” said Paul Roper, chief commercial officer at CouriersPlease.

“The survey data reveals that a large majority of consumers – not a minority like some may have thought – want brands and retailers to be more transparent about the origins and sustainability of products.

“Consumers want to be more conscious of what, and who, they are purchasing from. I think it could be a big wake-up call for retailers to realise that there is a rise in conscious consumerism.

“They need to change their practices to play their part in the world and also respond to what consumers want, in order to remain relevant.”

The survey also found that two in five Australian consumers would be willing to pay more for ethical and sustainable products, while younger consumers appear to be more sustainably-minded – with 46 per cent of shoppers under-30s, compared to 34 per cent of over-50s.

A higher proportion of women are also willing to spend more on sustainably produced products at 46 per cent, compared with 36 per cent of male consumers.

Roper believes that the discrepancies between states could have to do with competition and what is available to the consumer, in a traditional shopping sense.

“For instance, those living in NSW, Queensland and Victoria have a vast range of physical retailers to choose from compared with those living in ACT,” Roper added.

“As a result, a higher proportion of brands they purchase from may already be engaging in sustainable and ethical practices, so they have a higher rate of exposure to it.

“This could force them to look inwards and be mindful of the brands they shop from.”

According to Roper, the results found in their research could be an important incentive for retailers to embark on sustainable initiatives within their own operations and supply chains.

“It is time that businesses and organisations think about their environmental footprint and understand the influence they have on consumers,” Roper said.

“It is up to them – from the big players to the micros – to think more about sustainability and our futures and take the lead to help consumers make better choices.

“This starts from the products they create and manufacture, down to their own business practices. I would like to see more businesses commit to being green, have higher considerations on the impact they have on the environment, and take action to make changes for the better.”

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