Mintel: Consumers cutting spending to protect the environment

Canadian consumers among those polled in international survey

Mintel: Consumers cutting spending to protect the environment
Steve Randall

Along with the cost-of-living, consumers are cutting back spending amid a renewed focus on environmental matters.

With scarcity of resources, along with air quality, and climate change driving behavioural changes, an international study has found an increased shift to sustainability and frugality.

Mintel’s poll was conducted across 16 countries including Canada, the United States, the UK, Australia, France, Germany, China, and Japan.

It found that consumers’ sustainable behaviours include recycling packaging (59%), meal planning to avoid food waste (53%), and reducing clothes buying (50%).

Just under three in five consumers globally agree that extreme weather events in the country where they live encourage them to personally do more activities to protect the environment and 55% said that if we act now, we still have time to save the planet.

Richard Cope, Mintel’s senior trends consultant, said that the impact on consumers’ finances is one of the drivers of renewed sustainable behaviours.

“Soaring temperatures, extreme weather events and disruptions to food, water and energy supply chains have given consumers a harsh reality check, hurting their health and wallets, and activating them in the process,” he said.

Calling out greenwashing

Cope added that firms that fail to address consumers’ sustainability values – or worse, adopt greenwashing tactics - will lose out as people demand transparency.

“This means companies will increasingly need to assert—and clearly communicate—the truly impactful actions they are taking to reduce emissions, rather than simply offset them or dip their toes into populist 'plastic free' campaigns,” Cope said. “This growing awareness around resource inputs and emission and waste outputs will also spell the end for 'environmentally friendly' as a credible marketing term.”

While issues such as water and food shortages are rising in the list of environmental concerns of poll respondents, climate change remains the highest environmental priority.

Nearly half (46%) of consumers globally cited climate change among their top three concerns, followed by air quality and plastic pollution.