Few days ago I saw the results of a poll inquiring on the reasons why customers may not choose an eco-friendly product. I should say it did not surprise me at all to see that the main reason, by far, is the price tag. If an eco-friendly product costs more (and it does) than a corresponding non-eco-friendly delivering the same performances (also in terms of style) than the customer will buy the un-friendly, but cheaper one.
I was also totally unsurprised by the last (in terms of ranking) “whys”: the feeling that one’s individual impact doesn’t make a difference. I guess this might also be a strong reason why customers are unwilling to pay more for an eco-friendly product. If my choice is not going to have an impact, why should I pay more?
In the coming years we are going to see and increased “pressure” on companies in many areas of the world to shift towards green, circular and sustainable economy and this pressure will be based on “economics” through funds (EU is investing over the next 5 years some 1.8 trillion euros – Next Generation Europe- with the explicit goal of making the whole economy greener and sustainable, with funds being released in small packages, each following one depending on the achievements reached by the previous one. US has pledged to halve the CO2 emission to 2005 levels by 2035) and through tax (like the carbon tax). This is likely to provide a much more level playing field, in terms of cost/price for eco-friendly products and therefore can respond to the first “why” listed in the poll results.
However, it will be essential, as I see it, to increase the awareness of the impact of our individual choices, making clear that each one can make a difference. This needs to become a worldwide effort, as important as the funding and policies.