FIBS’s consumer survey investigated how Finnish consumers make responsible choices. Based on the survey, decisions related to responsible consumption are largely guided by images and emotions rather than facts. Finnish consumers are interested in responsibility, and it influences their purchase decisions, although they think that companies still have room for improvement in product labelling, for example. Communicating about a product’s responsibility clearly and reliably is an excellent channel for companies to influence society, gain trust from consumers and increase the company’s financial result.
Almost half of the consumers who responded to the survey (46%) consider themselves at least partially responsible consumers. The majority (up to 65%) said that responsibility guides their spending decisions. Responsible consumption is significantly influenced by the level of education. Those with a university education are clearly more aware than those with qualifications from a vocational school. In addition, young people aged 18–24 are more aware as consumers – even though they don’t consider themselves responsible consumers.
60% of consumers consider Finnish-owned companies to be clearly more responsible than internationally owned companies. Based on the survey, decisions related to responsible consumption are largely guided by images and emotions rather than facts. The products of Finnish companies are perceived as more responsible, although this is not necessarily supported by any facts.
For consumers, responsibility is important, although making a responsible choice is still not easy. Incomplete product responsibility information makes it difficult to choose at the time of purchase. The higher price of responsible products is also considered a challenge, which also affects the purchase decision. The third most significant challenge in responsible consumption is doubt about the credibility of the product’s responsibility promises. Consumers pay most attention to the responsibility of food, clothes, and detergents and cleaning agents.
Ethical manufacturing is the most important responsibility criterion for consumers (32% of respondents). Environmental friendliness is the most important responsibility criterion for almost as many (31%).
Companies must invest in communicating about their responsibility. 27% of the respondents expect companies to clearly present information about product responsibility.
“Finns are willing to spend responsibly, so companies should offer opportunities and support for this. Therefore, companies should share researched and reliable information on the environmental and social impacts and responsibility of their products in a way that appeals to consumers, and should ensure that the information is easily available at the time of purchase”, says FIBS Director Helena Kekki.
“Almost 40% of consumers say that they have stopped buying products for reasons of responsibility. Therefore, one possibility to support sustainable consumption is services based on renting or recycling products instead of buying new ones. Supporting sustainable consumption can be an excellent way for companies to have a positive impact on the surrounding society and at the same time improve their result”, Kekki continues.
Consumers often make purchase decisions on an emotional basis. In order for the purchase decision to be based on information as well, companies should offer enough of it.
More information: Helena Kekki, DIrector, FIBS, +358 50 3451 966, firstname.lastname@example.org