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How are morals and values shaping consumer purchase decisions?

How morals & values shape consumer purchase decisions

Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets at KPMG comments on the environment and ethics section of the BBC’s Morality Survey.


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Commenting on the environment and ethics section of the BBC’s Morality Survey, Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets at KPMG, said:

“The BBC’s Morality Survey highlights the growing link between ethics and consumer behaviour and consumption – just think of our growing resistance to excessive plastic packaging. However, accountability remains the biggest obstacle to turning the tide on the issue. Our own research revealed that only 9% of consumers believe they’re responsible for ensuring their consumption is sustainable. Instead, consumers overwhelmingly point the finger at manufacturers and producers to make products sustainable and environmentally friendly in the first place.

“There appears to be something of a paradox between very vocal campaigning consumers and people’s own feelings of personal responsibility, but it’s logical that action is needed at the top of the supply chain if change is to become reality. This places considerable pressure on consumer businesses to showcase their green credentials, particularly if they want to stay in favour with their customers. After all, these businesses are increasingly striving to be more consumer-centric, which entails supplying what consumers are demanding – and that’s more ethical options.  

“It’s not just day-to-day items we need to consider, consumers are thinking more carefully about their car emissions too, but we found that it was older consumers who are more likely to factor in emissions into their decision making when buying a car. Much of this could be the result of older generations thinking about the legacy they’re leaving, but personal finances are likely to be the prominent factor. Price will be at the heart of any solution, and consumers will need to vote with their feet and not just their wallet.

“In truth we all – consumers, corporates and policy makers – need to be acutely aware of our responsibilities if change for the better is to become a reality.”  


Notes to editors:

  • The BBC’s Morality Survey – What does the UK think is right and wrong? – can be viewed: here
  • In July 2019, KPMG revealed that consumers look mainly to manufacturers to make consumption sustainable, press release accessible: here

For media enquiries, please contact:

Simon Wilson, KPMG Corporate Communications

T: 020 7 311 6651

M:  077853 73397


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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