Consumers ‘sceptical’ on business green claims

New Zealanders are sceptical of businesses and products that claim to be environmentally friendly, a survey has found.

The survey of 1000 consumers by Kantar and the Sustainable Business Council found 73 percent believed businesses were only involved in social and environmental issues for commercial gain.

“I think it’s fair to say [consumers] are more than a little bit sceptical, I’d say they’re rather sceptical,” Kantar’s sustainable transformation practice lead Jason Cate said.

“That in itself is not a new phenomenon; it remains a really central challenge for the business community and how they get their message out there.”

He said businesses struggled to be authentic when explaining their environmental impact.

“The way that businesses have communicated the actions they’ve taken can often be hard to understand… or in plenty of unfortunate instances they simply haven’t been true,” he said.

To regain trust, Cate said businesses would have to be more transparent and avoid common pitfalls.

“[Such as] the use of comparative statements like ‘I’m greener than…’ without actually informing anyone what the comparison point is,” he said.

“[And] claiming sustainable impact while what you’re doing is simply less damaging than what you were doing before.”

The survey also found the ongoing cost of living crisis had impacted consumers’ views on products that claimed to be sustainable, Cate said.

“What cost of living really does is it acts like a handbrake. It makes it more difficult for people to lead the sustainable and ethical lives they aspire to,” he said.

“The green premium is a real thing. Often sustainable and ethically sourced goods do cost more and people are acutely aware in a belt-tightening environment of whether that represents value for them.

“There’s always that tension between value and values.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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