Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

Kiwis happy to pay up for ethical goods

Trade Aid shop, selling Fairtrade products. photo/Warren Buckland
Trade Aid shop, selling Fairtrade products. photo/Warren Buckland

Three quarters of Kiwis say they would pay more for organic, sustainable and ethically produced products.

The latest Colmar Brunton Better Futures Report found New Zealanders were increasingly aware of where and how goods were made.

Of the 13,000 surveyed across New Zealand, 83 per cent said they would stop buying a company's product if it was not being responsible or ethical and 72 per cent said it was important that they worked for a company that was socially and environmentally minded.

Fairtrade and Eco store were seen as leading sustainable brands, and Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand chief executive Molly Harriss Olson said this was reflected in sales.

"In the past year, retail sales value of Fairtrade products across New Zealand and Australia have grown by more than 17 per cent to $379 million," Harriss Olson said.

"These findings reflect the experience of Fairtrade and the importance of our work throughout the Pacific region."

Fairtrade operates 52 licensees and traders in New Zealand, and 192 in Australia.

Harriss Olson said the Fairtrade movement had gained momentum in the past decade as businesses worked to be more ethical.

Of those surveyed, 71 per cent were willing to pay more for ethical products, a six per cent year-on-year increase from 2014.

According to Colmar Brunton, the growing trend reflected concerns about the origin of food and other products as well as a desire for easier access to information about farmer working conditions in developing countries.

The results of the survey also mirrored those from Euromonitor International's Global Changemakers Survey 2016.

Social issues were also important, with 60 per cent of Kiwis ranking industry and innovation as being important for creating a better future and 65 per cent ranking gender equality as being very important.

"Continued retail sales growth has enabled Fairtrade to provide more support and services to farmers and workers throughout the Pacific, including the successful movement and expansion of gender equality and technology innovation programs," Harriss Olson said.

"It is wonderful to see the thoughtful shopping of New Zealanders translate into profound impacts on the lives of thousands of people in the neighbouring Pacific."

- NZ Herald

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