Environmentally Conscious Consumers and Products
Updated: Aug 23
Environmental consciousness is becoming more and more common. People are more conscious of what they buy, where it came from, and how it impacts the world around them, so why would you continue to buy something that has a negative impact on the environment?
Environmentalism is not only about recycling your cans or turning off your lights when you leave a room anymore; it’s also about buying items with less packaging or better labels showing its carbon footprint. From solar panels to reusable bags made out of recycled materials, environmentalists have become savvy shoppers who know what they’re looking for before purchasing anything new.
There is a growing demand for sustainable products and there are now a growing range of products that are sustainable and environmentally friendly to choose from. More and more people are starting to buy green, environmentally friendly products that reduce waste or save energy.
What is Environmental Consciousness?
Environmental consciousness is the responsibility one has with the environment. The awareness of production and consumption patterns; the understanding of environmental consequences; and using this knowledge to make decisions which will not increase damage to the environment. Consumers want environmentally conscious products that reduce waste or save energy.
Sustainability refers to how long something can be used (how long it lasts while minimizing damage), while environmental consciousness is more about how to reduce the impact of something during production, including things like transportation and energy consumption. Sustainability has more to do with companies than consumers, while environmental consciousness is all about what consumers want.
Why do People Buy Sustainable Products?
People buy environmental conscious products because it is something they can feel good about buying. If they’re looking for reasons to justify their purchase, they’re more likely to choose an option that makes them happy. People also don’t want to contribute to harming the environment, which is why these kinds of products are becoming more popular.
People want less waste in the world, whether it be from production or disposal/recycling after use has been completed. And, to a certain extent, consumers are willing to pay a little more if those wants are satisfied.
They may not know the environmental impact behind what they’re buying, but they are aware there’s an impact. They like knowing that, at the very least, they are doing something positive for the environment.
According to a survey conducted by Nielsen: The consumer has increasingly become interested in learning whether or not their purchases have an environmental impact. This demonstrates that choices are being made based on environmental impact rather than price.
The survey goes on to state, “41% of respondents said they would be willing to pay more for green products, with 19% stating they are very willing.” This is a significant increase from 2003 when only 27% of people surveyed were willing to pay more for green products.
Why Continue Buying Unsustainable or Harmful Products?
There are several reasons to buy a product even if it’s not sustainable or environmentally friendly. It can be based on the cheapest price, not wanting to spend extra money on a product with marginal claims of eco-friendlness. Also, the over-use or abuse of the eco-friendly label, with any old-product earning the “green” logo, renders it becoming meaningless.
In order for something to be sustainable and environmentally friendly, the initial and extra costs are added onto the price of the goods. Because of this additional cost, many people will choose not to buy it when compared to its cheaper, yet non-environmentally consciousness, alternative which may do the job just as well. Consumers are worried about spending too much money on one single item that may break quickly and won’t last as long as a cheaper alternative.
For convenience sakes, the consumer doesn’t have time for extensive research, the know how to access or evaluate information about a product’s environmental impact. Some people just don’t care, do not think it has an effect on them, or just don’t have it mind due as they get on with busy lives.
Some even think that it is simply a cynical marketing ploy making it special and unique, with elements of virtue-signalling. There are still people who question if these new green products deliver on their promises or exactly what kinds of green credentials they have.
While there has been some pessimism throughout the industry about the term “greenwashing”, there are no signs that consumers are turning away from these products yet. Therefore, if your company is not already involved in the production of green products, you are advised to consider making the switch.
Supplying Environmentally Conscious Products
Due to an increased desire for impactful identities, many consumers today are placing greater emphasis on products with a positive impact on the world around them. In this context, it is a worthy for businesses to integrate “eco-friendlness” as an integral consideration in any product development, manufacture or supply.
Increasingly brands will need to be transparent about their sustainable practices and this ongoing shift is requiring companies to innovate new ways to engage with customers. Green initiatives by corporations such as offering recycling programs, implementing environmentally friendly practices in their factories, and using less harmful ingredients can be used as marketing tools because consumers are more likely to buy from companies that are engaging in these practices.
In addition, when products are being bought from e-commerce platforms, customers do not have the advantage of seeing and touching a product before they purchase it. Therefore, in order for companies to sell their products, they have to convince their potential customers that the product is as advertised. For many companies, this means advertising how eco-friendly their products are as a selling point.
The motivation to make a decision based on an eco-friendly product is often due to consumers’ concerns about the health of the planet and their desire to do something about it. It is important for companies who want to appeal to this market segmentation that they do so by using environmentally conscious products.
Although there are many sceptics who think that this trend is just another marketing ploy, it seems to be here for the long-term. The sheer volume of people who are willing to pay more for an eco-friendly product points toward a growing environmental consciousness among the general population.
By working with manufacturers, packaging and supply-chain experts, businesses will be able to update or add new sustainable/environmentally friendly products without significant extra cost to exposing their wares to more consumers.