The reasons you don’t shop ethically or environmentally friendly

Approximately 30 per cent of Australians want to buy ethically or environmentally friendly products when they go shopping, but new research

Approximately 30 per cent of Australians want to buy ethically or environmentally friendly products when they go shopping, but new research has found only 3 per cent actually do.

What’s with that? If you’ve wanted to buy environmental products, is there something that has stopped you from following through?

According to associate professor Martin Grimmer of the Business and Economics school at the University of Tasmania, having an intention of doing something is not as effective as having a plan to do it.

“An intention is usually a reasonably good indication of behaviour but it’s not the same as forming a plan,” Grimmer told the ABC.

Grimmer says there is an “ethical tipping point” when it comes to how much you are prepared to pay for a product. If it is seen as being affordable, you are likely to purchase it.

The other reason you aren’t following through on those goals to be more ethically and environmentally sound is because you feel overwhelmed at the scale of the issue globally.

“Part of the problem is that people think that to act environmentally responsibly is a big change in their behaviour,” Grimmer says, adding that you are more likely to follow through with your choices if you think there is a chance that choice will make a difference.

A study in the United Kingdom found that there was one additional issue paramount to your decisions on environmental and ethical grounds — quality.

Regardless of whether a product or service is ethical, if it is proven to be quality to you as the consumer you will buy it.

Do you shop ethically or environmentally? What influences you to purchase a particular product?

  1. Judith  

    It is not just the cost of the product, it is the time you need to do the research, read the labels, and check the claims on the packaging.
    By the way, it really annoys me when I type a comment and get a response of “you are making comments too fast”. Ridiculous!

    • Leah Jones  

      Judith – I’ve had that “you are making comments too fast” thing as well ! ! I shan’t write in anymore. I can’t help how I type. I touch-type, and don’t have to look at the keyboard at all, so I suppose I do type faster than people who don’t touch type, but I’m no tornado.
      I also agree with your comment, about cost, and research etc. etc. etc. OK if one has all day to read labels.

  2. I have to agree with the statements. I would like to shop more ethically and environmentally but am often dissuaded because of the inferior quality of the substitute product. I often find that the lengthy time to properly read the ingredients etc of certain products is prohibitive. If I have done research beforehand and know which product I am going to try before I enter the shop/aisle, I am more likely to give it a go. I have become more able to accept the fact that the small contribution I make to the world is worthwhile even if the global problem is overwhelming. I suppose the story of the person walking along the beach and tossing the stranded starfish back into the waves, thinking ‘it makes a difference to this one’ has stayed with me. I can only try.

  3. Luba Bradford  

    Yes I do shop ethically and have done for many years.
    I grow vegetables, herbs and tons of weeds; the latter don’t need watering. Lol.
    All of my personal, skin care and cleaning products are safe to use and environmentally friendly. I’m referring to TRI NATURE products, made in Australia. I’m an independent distributor and as a result, never need to walk down the Supermarket aisle and ingest the overpowering odours of chemical products which pack our shelves.
    I admit to using plastic bags on occasions, but am mindful of how to dispose them. I tear them into shreds, so that if they end up in our waterways, our fish will not end up with a bag on their heads.
    Ever since my children were babies, I shopped with the Chemical Maze book and checked out every ingredient in the item I was looking at.
    I look for Australian products….made and grown in Australia, rather than PACKED in Australia from local and imported products.
    Clothes and shoes are challenging, although I do my best to buy Australian. Unfortunately many small businesses who thrived in the 50’s and 60’s are now out of business, because our Government and Wholesalers chose to import rather than support our own Industry. I’m referring to tailors, cobblers, bakers, etc.
    Ethical shopping can be more expensive, however, for me quality is more important than quantity.
    I do not eat meat, because there is no need to keep breeding livestock where there is no food or water, and then farmers go broke and many suicide. We need to stop the Chain of Events and look deeper into sustainability. We all need to be on the same page, and I’m optimistic that more and more people are becoming ‘ethically accountable.’

  4. George Covacs  


    By the way I’m voting for the Christian Democrats whose platform exactly mirrors mine.
    Here are some extracts from their platform.

    With a Ph.D. in chemistry, and many years experience in both the academic and private sectors, the major thrust of my campaign will be countering the green fog that has descended upon our nation and is stifling the productivity of both our primary producers and the resources sector. My impramatur for doing this is twofold: firstly, I will not stand idly by and watch what ought to be the unadulterated pursuit of objective truth – science – be perverted for political ends. Secondly, as a scientist I am in a position to call to account those for whom the pursuit of science is simply a veneer. In short I have the scientific clout to expose them.
    The most well-known example of this, of course is the unproven theory of so-called anthropogenic global warming (AGW) – “climate change” to the punter in the street. Stated plainly there are three things that need to be proven before we should spend a cent upon reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Firstly, it needs to be proven that carbon dioxide has a significant effect upon global warming. Secondly, it needs to be proven that this warming is a bad thing, and thirdly, it must be proven that we can actually do anything about it.

    In my view, however, there is a whole lot more to Islamic immigration than the question of terrorism. Notably, of most concern is attitudes that are hardwired into Moslems regarding the rights of women, gays, democracy, and tolerance of other religions. And make no mistake, these attitudes are indeed hardwired. I have met and known many Muslims throughout my professional career, and I have found that the most pleasant, articulate, intelligent, professional, and educated people often have attitudes in these areas that are utterly inflexible and belong in the dark ages.

    But whenever someone does something and claims Islam as their inspiration, or whenever they commit an atrocity of some sort whilst yelling “Allah Akbar”, or whenever gays are thrown off buildings by people citing the Mohammed and the Hadiths as their inspiration, somehow this is nothing to do with Islam. I don’t understand how that works.
    And we have of course seen this recently in the Orlando massacre. No matter how blatant, how obvious, and how unequivocal the inspiration for an atrocity is, the weak and compliant Left in our media look the other way.

    • Pauline Wilson  

      I like you reply and I think how true.

    • Mireille Cross  

      I totally agree with you!! I also worked for many years in a country where muslims were about 50% of the population. Our Western governments often look the other way to avoid stirring islamist governments, and also to be “politically correct”!

  5. David J Humberstone...also know as Grumpy  

    Never ceases to amaze me ..that on a daily basis we are bombarded with so called experts telling us the latest things we need to follow because of research.. goodness gracious me..have all these ‘experts and learned persons’ ever contimplated their think not…me thought for the day!!!!!

  6. John Prior  

    I must admit my choice is based primarily on buy Australian if I can. Just do not trust many of the imported products- they may have been made under slave labour conditions. Who knows what conditions imported food has been put through- what additives, what health standards etc.? Some manufactured imports may contain asbestos and so on.
    Buy Australian, buy quality

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