Bakers Journal

Bottom line trumps green concerns for Cdn. consumers

October 6, 2011
By Bakers Journal

October 6, 2011, Markham, ON – A strong majority of Canadians express concern for the environment but are unwilling to pay more for eco-friendly products, a new survey from market research firm Nielsen shows.

From pollution to packaging, Canadians express worry about the environment in relatively high numbers, and claim that the sustainable practices of retailers influence their shopping decisions.

Nielsen’s 2011 Global Online Environment & Sustainability Survey gathered the opinions of more than 25,000 Internet respondents in 51 countries, including Canada. Of all the regions surveyed, North Americans expressed the lowest willingness to pay more for environmentally-friendly goods, perhaps due to concern regarding recovering economies.

“Between economic ups and downs and rising fuel, energy, and food prices, Canadians are focused on managing the household budget and their personal bottom line,” said Carman Allison, director of shopper and industry insights for Nielsen. “With today’s recovering economy, it’s no surprise there is far more concern for the financial environment than the actual environment.”


Other insights from the survey include:

  • Almost 80 per cent of Canadians expressed strong agreement on the need for companies to contribute to environmental enhancements and operate in an environmentally-sustainable manner.
  • Canadians see recycled or minimal packaging and energy efficient products as the most helpful “sustainable” or “environmentally-friendly” effort that manufacturers can take.
  • Seven in 10 Canadians believe there are great benefits in sourcing locally.
  • Twelve per cent of Canadians and Americans said they would pay more for environmentally friendly products than comparable non-eco-friendly alternatives. This is significantly lower than the global average.

The Nielsen Global Online Survey was conducted between March 23 and April 12. It polled more than 25,000 consumers in 51 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6 per cent.

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