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Consumers look to manufacturers to make consumption sustainable

Manufacturers expected to make consumption sustainable

53% of UK consumers think producers and manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the goods they buy are environmentally-friendly.

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KPMG research finds that over two-thirds (67%) of Brits say they care more about the environmental impact of the consumer goods they buy today, compared to 5 years ago, but they mainly feel it is the responsibility of manufacturers and producers to tackle the issue.

In the poll of over 2,000 consumers, when asked who they feel should be most responsible for ensuring the goods they buy are environmentally-friendly, over half (53%) of respondents said the companies producing or manufacturing products. Only 15% of respondents point to policymakers and only one in ten think it is the retailer’s responsibility (9%) or their own (10%).

Commenting on the findings, Dan Thomas, UK head of corporates at KPMG UK, said: “The corporate world has to wake up to the strength of feeling towards sustainability. Our research pinpoints exactly where consumers feel the responsibility lies to tackle the Goliath task of making consumption environmentally sustainable, and it’s with the product producers.

“The fact that only one in ten consumers believe it is down to themselves to change the impact of their consumption, demonstrates the scale of the challenge for producers and manufacturers. Simply having an environmentally-friendly offering is not enough, sustainability needs to be embedded across everything a firm does, so there isn’t a ‘wrong choice’ for a consumer to make. Consumers will continue to demand the same products and the same quality, but with minimal impact on our planet. It is a huge ask, but one that must be met if businesses are to remain relevant in the years to come.”

The youngest and oldest generations are notably more engaged in the fight to make consumer goods more environmentally-friendly. Over three-quarters (76%) of those aged 18 to 24, and 68% of those 55 and over, said they care more about their impact on the plant than they did 5 years ago. By comparison, only around 63% of those aged 25 to 54 said the same. On the whole, respondents say that they would be willing to pay an average of 8.5% more for environmentally-friendly consumer goods.

Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets at KPMG, added: “The lion’s share of attention where sustainable consumption is concerned has been placed on both the consumer and retailers, with consumers urged to recycle more as well as make more environmentally-friendly choices. Meanwhile, retailers are under continued pressure to think of and invest in innovative ways to tackle the issue. Manufacturers and producers are one step removed from the end consumer so those doing a great job may have had their efforts somewhat overlooked.

“It’s clear now that the pressure on all businesses to think more carefully about sustainability will only grow, especially as younger generations become more dominant consumers. There is a vital need to move beyond ‘thinking’ and token gestures, with hard action and results now required. Thankfully, most consumers aren’t under the illusion that this will come without cost, though no doubt those who can make these changes without hitting prices too hard will stand out as the winning businesses of the future.”

 

-ENDS-

 

Notes to editors:

Simon Wilson, KPMG Corporate Communications

T: 020 7 311 6651

M: 077853 73397

E: simon.wilson@kpmg.co.uk

Christina Bridge, KPMG Corporate Communications

T: 07789504905

E: Christina.Bridge@KPMG.co.uk

 

KPMG Press Office

T: +44 (0) 207 694 8773

 

References and further reading:

Read KPMG’s latest Protecting you brand report, which includes regulatory and compliance-related insight for managing reputational risk in retail.

Methodology:

In June 2019, KPMG UK commissioned YouGov to survey over 2,000 British consumers on various question relating to the environmental considerations when buying consumer goods. The survey was carried out online on the 11th and 12th June 2019. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults aged 18+.

 

Findings in detail:

In general, would you say care more or less about the environmental impact of the things you buy (e.g. food, drink, clothes etc), or is it about the same? (2,045 respondents)

Response

%

Net: care more

67

Net: care less

2

About the same

28

Don’t know

4

 

Age breakdown of those who care more, compared to 5 years ago:

Age band

Net: care more (%)

18 – 24

76

25 – 34

64

35 – 44

63

45 – 54

62

55+

68

 

Regional breakdown of those who care more, compared to 5 years ago:

Region

Net: care more (%)

North

68

Midlands

64

East

69

London

68

South

67

Wales

62

Scotland

64

 

In general, which ONE, if any, of the following do you think is MAINLY responsible for ensuring the things people buy are not harmful to the environment? (2,045 respondents)

Who is mainly responsible?

(%)

The people who buy the products

10

The retailers selling the products

9

The companies producing/manufacturing the products

53

Policymakers

15

Other

1

Don’t know

6

Not applicable

5

 

In general, how willing, if at all, would you be to pay more for a product if it was more environmentally friendly (2,045 respondents)

Response

(%)

Net: willing

61%

Net: not willing

31%

Don’t know

8%

 

Age breakdown of those willing to pay more to ensure products are more environmentally friendly:

Age band

Net: pay more (%)

18 – 24

71

25 – 34

63

35 – 44

60

45 – 54

51

55+

62

 

Regional breakdown of those willing to pay more to ensure products are more environmentally friendly:

Region

Net: pay more (%)

North

59

Midlands

61

East

56

London

67

South

64

Wales

53

Scotland

60

 

Approximately, how much more would you be will to spend on a product if it was more environmentally friendly? (1,248 respondent)

Response

%

Up to 5%

39

More than 5%, up to 10%

37

More than 10%, up to 25%

12

More than 25%, up to 50%

3

More than 50%

2

Don’t Know

8

AVERAGE

8.54

 

About KPMG in the UK

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 16,300 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.338 billion in the year ended 30 September 2018. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 154 countries and has 200,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

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