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Slow slog on sustainable consumerism

It's cool to be green – but sustainability measures beyond the simple and cost-effective are being chucked into the 'too hard' basket.

According to Colmar Brunton’s The Better Business Report 2012 Kiwis are following the lead of their global counterparts and are increasingly unwilling to pay a premium for eco-friendly products and services.

Jacqueline Ireland, chief executive officer of Colmar Brunton, said purchase behaviours are changing, but very slowly.

“We’re prepared to recycle and be more energy efficient at home but not quite ready to buy organic foods or offset carbon on flights en masse."

The top five categories that are making inroads are: energy/power, fuel, cosmetics/personal care, fast food and technology and communications.

The Better Business Report 2012 is the fourth of an ongoing trend monitor around sustainable issues from a consumer’s point of view, formerly known as Better Business Better World

The survey captured answers from 1,004 consumers online, using a representative sample of the total population in terms of age, gender and location.

“We’re seeing that macro issues and good marketing can shift issues to be more personally relevant but generally speaking proximity is the key and often a prerequisite in capturing attention, persuading and motivating behaviour," Ireland says.

Only 15 percent of us feel well informed on issues relating to sustainability.  And only one in three feel businesses are giving them enough information about their social and environmental practices.

More than 90 percent of consumers think they have a right to know where a food product comes from, get annoyed when products try to pass themselves off as greener than they really are or when products are positioned as healthier than they really are.

Two-thirds of Kiwis could not name a global green brand, but of those who could, Meridian came out on top followed by ecostore, Air New Zealand, Toyota and The Body Shop.

Motivators

While most Kiwis want to do the right thing with three-quarters mentioning at least one green factor when making a purchase decision, their choices are ultimately impacted by a variety of factors. 

94 percent of us are motivated by price

88 percent by quality

81 percent by taste/performance

76 percent by a known/trusted brand.

Green factors

At 59 percent, 'locally grown' is the biggest green motivator

42 percent are motivated by an earth-friendly product

32 percent by earth-friendly packaging

17 percen by organic