We hope you and your loved ones are safe, and that you’re listening to this episode from the comfort of your home. This was a conversation we did much before the restrictions were put in to control the spread of the Novel Coronavirus.
This week, we’re sharing our conversation with Maria Sillanpaa, founder of Sustainability Advisory, an international alliance of sustainability strategists and specialists.
Maria joins us to talk about the first-of-its-kind Conscious Consumer UAE State of Play 2019 study, where they surveyed 1,300 citizens and residents in the country to understand how sustainability conscious the average consumer is in the UAE.
About the study:
This first-of-its-kind consumer insight survey in UAE was informed by a series of Discovery Cafés organised across the UAE, followed by an ethnographic study and review of similar surveys in various markets.
The aim of the survey was to understand the extent to which sustainability is important to UAE consumers and how it is affecting their consumer behaviours and attitudes. We also set out to understand consumer expectations for businesses and the government in promoting responsible consumerism.
What was discovered:
Conscious consumerism is clearly gaining strength in the UAE and people are actively seeking products and services that align with their sustainability values. As the frustration with limited availability of sustainable alternatives grows, consumers have begun to reject and shun products and services they do not consider to be sustainable.
Although an overwhelming majority found it either difficult or very difficult to live sustainably in the UAE (76 per cent), the strong desire to do so was evident with nearly everyone stating that they were committed to moving towards a sustainable lifestyle (96 per cent). Further proof of this commitment comes from the fact that 57 per cent of consumers are actively looking for alternative products and services. Significantly, 77 per cent stated that they had chosen not to buy a product in the previous six months as they did not consider it sustainable.
A group of deeply committed consumers have even begun to make their own products when they are unable to find acceptable alternatives. Key examples of home-made products included laundry detergents, household cleaners and toiletries.
The survey clearly shows that consumers are ready to change their lifestyles but are calling for support from both the government and businesses to enable them to make better choices and change their daily responsible consumption related behaviours.