Plastic waste: retailers must change as over 70% of consumers say environmental factors impact shopper choice, says GlobalData. The supermarkets’ new found environmental efforts regarding plastic waste are definitely chiming with the public according to new research from GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The company’s latest consumer survey (Sept 2018), revealed that 71.4% of consumers said that they consider the environmental impacts of their choice of food and grocery retailers and products. This falls to 64.2% for clothing & footwear but demonstrates that non-food retailers must also make changes to minimise their impact on the environment while clearly communicating their commitment to shoppers.
Emily Salter, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, commented, “Since the BBC’s Blue Planet documentary series showed the devastating effects that the sheer volume of plastic waste has on marine life bringing the issue to the forefront of consumers’ minds, grocers have had to react and make changes.’’
Many major retailers have announced plastic reduction plans in an attempt to show consumers their concern for the environment – for instance, Morrisons will introduce paper bags for loose fruit and vegetables, and Lidl will stop using unrecyclable black plastic packaging.
Salter continues, ‘‘Although the retail industry’s impact on the environment goes far beyond the use of plastic, this data shows indicates that the recent heightened awareness is likely to have contributed to the high level of consumers considering environmental impacts,’’
That fewer consumers consider the environment when buying clothing & footwear may be down to a lack of awareness and scarcity of more sustainable, yet affordable, options apart from a small number of in-house lines such as H&M’s Conscious Collection.
Consumers are more distanced from the sourcing, processing and packaging of non-food products, as most items are presented packaging-free, with the exception of online orders.
Though some retailers, such as H&M and Marks & Spencer, have well-established clothing recycling schemes, there is little information about the environmental impacts of the sector, and these schemes are insufficient to make sustainable choices more widely available.
Salter adds, ‘‘Fewer clothing & footwear retailers are making firm commitments to sustainability in comparison to grocers, despite the majority of consumers stating that they consider the environment when purchasing clothing & footwear. In a competitive market as the environment becomes a bigger priority, retailers’ must make their stance on sustainability clearer to the customer.’’
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GlobalData’s retail division focuses on all aspects of retailing and consumer behaviour through bespoke reports, projects and presentations and the leading edge Intelligence Centre platform. GlobalData works with many of the world’s leading retailers and retail suppliers, property firms and those in the financial sector to help them maximize success through developing a thorough understanding of the sector and its likely future performance.