Increasing awareness around ethical and environmental issues is driving the rise in mindful consumption. Although interest in ethical living is higher in emerging markets, it is still developed economies that lead the commercialisation of sustainability and have high value ethical labels markets. Recycling is by far the biggest selling ethical claim with increasing focus on waste recovery. The new frontier of ethical consumption is integrating into all aspects of consumers’ lifestyles.
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The movement is more progressive in emerging markets, where a higher than global average ratio of consumers is seeking ways to make positive decisions about what they buy and avoiding solutions that add to the negative impact consumerism is having on the world.
While emerging markets show lots of interest in ethical consumerism, it is the developed economies which show strong value sales growth of mainstream ethical labels. There is a perception amongst many consumers in emerging markets, that local products carry inherent environmental characteristics but which are not commercialised as ethical labels.
In retail value terms, over 70% of sales of ethically labelled food and beverages carry a recycling label. “Recycling” is the most common and most trusted among green label. However, recyclability of packaging may not be an influential purchasing factor, more of a post-purchase consideration
“All natural” and “Clean label” claims, such as “Hormone free”, “Non-GMO” and “No artificial” stem from concerns around wellbeing and are important contributors not only to ethical but also healthy living trends. The importance of these concerns varies country by country and is more pronounced in nutrition.
While there is increasing maturity in the eco/ethical space for products with the myriad of similarly positioned offerings on all “ethical” platforms, eco services is still a relatively novel concept. Business models focusing on services with strong ethical credentials still enjoy a period of low competition.
Awareness, availability and affordability drive consumers’ interest in ethical living. However, consumers still rank features such as efficacy and value as the main driving force behind their purchases.