The influence of sustainability on New Zealand consumers

The influence of sustainability on New Zealand consumers

New Zealanders believe electricity retailers and supermarkets are doing the most to be more sustainable, however, they want brands in all industries to be more open and upfront about sustainability, and actively communicate it.

New research reveals why brands need to talk sustainability

*Across all eight industries, at least 47 percent of New Zealanders say they care about sustainability when choosing a brand/product to purchase.

*One in five say choosing a brand that either operates in a sustainable manner or helps them live a lower-impact life are the most important factors in their purchase decision.

*Sustainability is ranked the third equal most important factor when making a purchase choice after quality and price.

New Zealanders believe electricity retailers and supermarkets are doing the most to be more sustainable, however, they want brands in all industries to be more open and upfront about sustainability, and actively communicate it.

The findings of the In Good Company report released today demonstrate that sustainability is not just something they care about when making a purchase, but it is contributing to how they choose what to buy.

Commissioned by the Sustainable Business Council, Porter Novelli and Perceptive, the findings reveal how New Zealanders assess the sustainability of brands and showcases where there are significant opportunities for business leadership.

More than 2,000 New Zealanders took part in the study which looked at eight industry sectors including; automobile, broadband and mobile, fashion/apparel, financial institutions, electricity, fuel and large retailers, as well as supermarkets.

With sustainability a concern for 87 percent of New Zealanders, and 18 percent of those surveyed unable to identify a leader in the area, Abbie Reynolds, Executive Director of Sustainable Business Council, says businesses need to step up to the challenge.

“New Zealand businesses are increasingly embedding sustainability into their strategies and business practice; however, many businesses are reluctant to talk about what they’re actually doing.

“In many cases, it’s a matter of ‘green hush’, rather than greenwash. This research shows there is an important opportunity for business in New Zealand to show leadership,” says Reynolds.

Depending on the sector, between 47 percent (financial institutions) and 68 percent (large retailers), say they care about the sustainability of brand products when purchasing from that sector.

Between 34 percent (broadband/mobile retailer) and 51 percent (large retailer) say their purchase decisions are influenced by how sustainable a brand or product is across industries.

James Walker, Executive Director for Sustainability at Porter Novelli says, “Customers are increasingly becoming more likely to research the sustainability practices of brands, and they are demanding more information. Our research shows that 71 percent of New Zealanders are actively researching this before making a product purchase and that’s a sign that businesses need to step up.

“Respondents said that they want brands to be more honest and transparent, as well as promoting the sustainability activity that is being undertaken. If customers don’t know what businesses are doing to become more sustainable, how can they choose them for it?” Walker continues.

Despite the results from the research providing insight into what business sustainability leadership looks like to New Zealanders, those involved in the research say it’s important to recognise that perception does not always equal reality. Brands should consider both what they’re actually doing to operate more sustainably and how this is being perceived by customers.

Oliver Allen, General Manager at Perceptive, explains, “What’s interesting about these findings, is that sustainability is not just something New Zealanders care about, it’s also increasingly impacting their purchase decisions.

“Choosing a brand that operates in a sustainable manner falls just behind quality and price but ranks higher than customer service and recommendations from friends and family. This is something which brands should be taking note of across the board.”


For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact:
Sophie Coley, Porter Novelli  
+64 22 565 8919
[email protected]

Dane Ambler, Sustainable Business Council
+64 2041259838
[email protected]

About Porter Novelli

Porter Novelli New Zealand is an award-winning public relations consultancy, offering communications, marketing, strategy and sustainability services. Porter Novelli works with a range of clients, from global corporations to government agencies, small businesses and not-for-profits.

The consultancy is part of a vibrant network of 45 advertising, communications and marketing agencies in New Zealand and Australia owned by the Clemenger Group. It has links with 100 Porter Novelli offices in 60 countries. Porter Novelli NZ is a member of the Sustainable Business Council, Climate Leaders Coalition and is Rainbow Tick accredited.

About The Sustainable Business Council

The Sustainable Business Council aims to make sustainability easy and clear for members, and inspirational and aspirational to the wider business community. SBC encourages business leaders to work together to take action on climate change and environmental, social issues and help them understand their impact. Helping businesses be the best for New Zealand and our world.

More information about SBC’s Consumer Decision-Making programme

About Perceptive

Perceptive is Australasia’s leading technology-based customer insights agency. Perceptive provides research, insights and data-driven marketing programmes to a variety of organisations across the Asia-Pacific, North America, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and India.

Contact: Dane Ambler

Phone: +64 2041259838

Email: [email protected]

22 Nov, 2019

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