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The conscious Australian consumer is taking centre stage. Increasing awareness about ethical and environmental issues is driving the rise of more conscious consumption and consumer’s more knowledge-based purchasing decisions. Consumers are increasingly taking ethical considerations into account when shopping, paying more attention to issues such as the environment, the origin of food and animal welfare. In 2019, 46% of the Australians stated they try to have a positive impact on the environment through their everyday actions.
While making purchasing decisions, the ethical Australian consumer now focuses on the following four elements:
Consumers are closely monitoring efforts to lower environmental impact and are willing to buy from companies that are reducing the amount of waste and water consumption. Climate change is now a visible threat showing its effects on the country in the form of severe drought and bush fires affecting consumers lives. Australians are therefore actively looking to buy from companies that are climate positive i.e. working to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and investing in sustainable practices such as reduction of water and energy usage.
The responsibility of protecting the environment has shifted from consumers to corporations and local consumers are therefore demanding more transparency and companies that are doing it well stand out. Australian customers are no longer shy at pointing fingers at brands that are unsustainable.
Australian consumers are looking for products and companies that practice with good animal welfare and for vegan options. Australia ranks 7th among all 97 countries in the forest and biodiversity pillar and is home to many exotic species. The evolving Australian conscious consumer is driving rapid growth in plant-based and natural products as an alternate for animal-based products. It is taking conscious consumerism to the mainstream in key industries including food, beauty and beyond. Including industries such as apparel and footwear as well as driving the demand for animal-friendly or plant-based materials/fabric.
Purchasing products from companies that are transparent, have decent working conditions in place, and are giving back to the community. Customers buying fair-trade products, know the impact they can have on working standards of farmers and workers thus giving them the opportunity to improve their lives and communities. With increasing demand, there has been a growth in ethically produced brands. Apart from shopping fair-trade and ethically produced products, Australians show a strong tendency to support local business and to give back to the community by shopping from locally-owned stores and brands.
The ethical consumer is looking for sustainable solutions including re-using, sharing, rental models, and sustainable packaging and materials. Australians are beach-loving people with most of them living along the coastline which is increasingly being polluted by plastic waste. With the recent ban on plastic waste export to China, more plastic is seen polluting beaches and inland waterways and consumers and corporations together are trying to adopt ways of reducing plastic usage which has given rise to the circular economy.
The circular economy is the most recent model for sustainable growth, which aims to preserve the value of resources for as long as possible and eventually bring them back to the economy at the end of their life, when reuse and repair are no longer available. There has been an increased movement to reusable, refillable containers and rental models away from the ‘throw-away’ culture in Australia. These circular strategies enable the use of less materials with zero waste and landfill across the supply chain.
Click the link to the full “Ethical Living in Australia” report to receive a more in-depth analysis of Australian ethical consumer.