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Retailers must adapt to consumer demands on environment says report

Retailers must change their behaviour to reflect the environmental concerns of their customers, particularly fears over plastic waste, according to research from GlobalData.

The company’s latest report says that more than 70 per cent of consumers claim some shopping choices are influenced by environmental factors. In grocery, 71.4 per cent say their choice of retailers and products can be guided by environmental concerns. In clothing and footwear sectors the figure is 64.2 per cent.

Popular culture has had a significant impact on consumer choices. “Since the BBC’s Blue Planet documentary series showed the devastating effects that the sheer volume of plastic waste has on marine life bringing the issue to the forefront of consumers’ minds, grocers have had to react and make changes,” says GlobalData retail analyst Emily Salter.

GlobalData cites a number of examples of retailers reacting to changing consumer demands, such as Morrisons introducing paper bags for loose fruit and vegetables, and Lidl’s plan to stop using unrecyclable black plastic packaging.

‘‘Although the retail industry’s impact on the environment goes far beyond the use of plastic, this data… indicates that the recent heightened awareness is likely to have contributed to the high level of consumers considering environmental impacts,” adds Salter. ‘‘Fewer clothing & footwear retailers are making firm commitments to sustainability in comparison to grocers, despite the majority of consumers stating that they consider the environment when purchasing clothing & footwear. In a competitive market as the environment becomes a bigger priority, retailers’ must make their stance on sustainability clearer to the customer.’’

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