Sustainability has become more mainstream for New Zealanders, particularly when it comes to what we eat and drink.
Colmar Brunton's 2013 Better Business Report (an online survey of 1,000 representative Kiwis with a margin of error of + or – 3.1percent) found that cost has become less of an issue than it was two years ago.
Three quarters of consumers generally want to do the right thing and make sustainable choices, "as long as it's easy and doesn't cost me any more", while a majority (61 percent) are prepared to pay a little more for organic, sustainable or ethical products.
Colmar Brunton chief executive Jacqueline Ireland says between 2011 and 2013 there has been a jump of 19 percent in the number of people purchasing organic foods and a 13 percent increase for purchasing free trade products.
Top concerns for Kiwis when it comes to choosing food is whether it's locally made, whether it contains 100 percent natural ingredients and whether it has the Heart tick.
Just under 70 percent of respondents say they consider sustainability when choosing food retailers or food/beverage products.
And it is also increasingly a factor for consumers in other areas of business, including when choosing power companies (for 75 percent) or banks (45 percent).
Gen Y and sustainability
Right now 16 percent of of New Zealand’s population is classed within Gen Y and over 18 years of age, which is set to increase to 24 percent of the market within five years.
A massive 94 percent of Gen Y New Zealanders want to see all the information about the environmental and sustainable implications of their purchases. Almost three quarters are also keen on the idea of businesses rewarding customers who choose sustainable options with discounts or special benefits.
The 2013 survey showed that two thirds of Gen Y Kiwis buy organic foods (up from half in 2011), 80 percent buy fair trade products (65 percent in 2011) and 76 percent buy eco-friendly cleaning products (69 percent in 2011).
Concern about water pollution, protection of native plants and animals, the impact of processed foods on our health and the unsustainable use of natural resources have all risen sharply since 2011 as well.