New research on sustainability, commissioned by Mastercard, reveals a boom in personal climate action, as consumer attitudes toward the environment evolve as a direct result of COVID-19. This signals a growing trend toward sustainable behaviour through eco-conscious spending and consumption among people who want to turn their purchases into meaningful action for the planet.
Over half of Australians surveyed (57 per cent) see reducing their carbon footprint and adopting more sustainable behaviour as being more important now than they did pre-pandemic.
Additionally, as consumers become more conscious about their own actions, almost two-thirds of Australians (61 per cent) believe that companies should behave in more sustainable and eco-friendly ways since COVID-19, with Millennials (67 per cent) and Gen Z (65 per cent) leading this shift.
Richard Wormald, Division President, Australasia, Mastercard, said consumer behaviour among the different generations is clearly changing as people’s priorities shift.
“Many of the longer-term changes that are occurring as a result of COVID-19 are still being formed, giving organisations an opportunity to help shape the ‘next normal’,” Mr Wormald said.
“The research suggests that consumers are increasingly expecting organisations to promote sustainable initiatives. Australian businesses must take action to reflect these expectations if they hope to continue to engage with these consumers.”
Other key findings from the research include:
- A quarter of Gen Zs (26 per cent) plan to stop buying from brands that do not have a plan to better the environment.
- 40 per cent of over 55s believe in buying from brands produced in Australia as well as pledging to buy more local products.
- Sustainability efforts take centre stage of the issues Australians want companies and brands to focus on, with reducing waste and tackling plastic pollution being the first and third most important behaviours Australians want companies to adopt (38 per cent and 33 per cent).
- Social media is driving an increase of environmentally conscious consumers, with 66 per cent seeing climate change across social media channels.
- Millennials seem to be more concerned about environmentally-friendly consumer habits, including reducing plastic waste and shopping from brands that promote sustainability, than Gen Z (20 per cent vs 13 per cent).
- Television (42 per cent) and social media posts from influential people (36 per cent) are the mediums where most people in Australia have noticed these issues.