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BC consumers slightly less likely to base buying decisions on a retailer's environmental actions

By CO Staff @canadaone |

Consumers in British Columbia have are slightly less likely to say that a retailer's environmental performance is an important consideration in their store decision this year.

Seventy two per cent agreed felt that environmental performance was important in 2010, down from 74 per cent in 2009 and 77 per cent in 2008.

Interestingly, the number of survey respondents who rated this factor as "somewhat important" over the three years remained the same, while the number who felt that environmental factors were "very important" have dropped.

In 2008 24 per cent of consumers rated environmental performance as a very important factor, which then dropped to 21 per cent in 2009 and 19 per cent in 2010.

"It is typical to find that environmentalism becomes less key when the economy takes a turn for the worse and this may be the impact we are seeing here," said Catherine Dawson, vice president of Ipsos Reid's retail industry team.

The survey also found that British Columbians feel ill-equipped to judge whether or not a retailer is doing a good job at preserving and protecting the environment.

Sixty two per cent said they found it difficult to judge a retailer's environmental performance, up from 56 per cent in 2009.

Consumers in the province do not give retailers a strong rating when it comes to their environmental performance, either.

Only 44 per cent rated BC retailers' environmental performance as very good or good and 29 per cent rated retailers as poor or very poor.

The remaining 27 per cent are not sure how to rate BC retailers on their environmental performance.

The survey found that retailers could do a better job of communicating what they are doing to help the environment. Forty six eight per cent of British Columbians said that BC retailers could do a better job of sharing information about their environmental actions.

"These results suggest that better communications on the part of retailers on their environmental actions may help improve consumers' ability to judge their actions, and ultimately improve their impressions of how good a job a retailer is doing when it comes to the environment," said Dawson.

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