Research has revealed that more than 67 per cent of Australian consumers state that green or sustainability issues are influencing their purchasing decisions.

The survey by Manhattan Associates surveyed 2,000 Australian consumers and 100 large end retailers and revealed a potential difference between what retailers perceive as consumer aspirations and reality.

Raghav Sibal, Managing Director ANZ, Manhattan Associates, said that consumers are increasingly looking for environmentally sustainable products and retailers who “satisfy this demand will win a significant advantage over their competitors”.

“Green issues have taken on greater importance in recent times with increasing concerns about carbon emissions, the backlash over single-use plastics, as well as community action against climate change and the loss of biodiversity,” he said.

Retailers across all sectors are waking up to the importance of green issues with “doing more to minimise the environmental impact of our organisation” a top-four business priority among 31 per cent of Australian retail companies.

However, with the majority of consumers saying sustainability and environmental credentials are either a ‘very important’ (21 per cent) or ‘quite important’ (46 per cent) part of their purchasing decision, the research shows retailers still have some way to go before matching the importance shoppers are placing on the same issue.

In retail, the rise of online shopping has led to large reductions in the carbon footprint of the consumer. However, the shift towards the globalisation of buying and receiving goods has created another sustainability issue entirely – the shipping, handling, and transportation of goods.

“Studies show that shoppers who complete their entire shopping journey online generate a 50 per cent lower carbon footprint than traditional in-store buyers. However, while e-commerce can significantly reduce carbon emissions, there is still a large environmental issue at hand around the transportation of online-ordered goods.”

The research highlighted a potential difference between what retailers perceive as consumer aspirations and reality when it comes to delivery. Retailers revealed that they perceived same day delivery to be their customers’ most popular delivery option, while only eight per cent of consumers agreed with this.  The most popular delivery option among 35 per cent of customers was actually delivery in two or more working days.

“If consumers knew that selecting to receive an item in four days instead of one would result in a 70% reduction in carbon impact through better grouping of orders to limit shipping runs, they could be more likely to make that choice,” said Raghav.

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