The effects of eco-labelling on consumer behaviour in the non-foods fast-moving consumer goods category : a study of South African consumers

Du Toit, Ben-Johann (2011-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

A global increase in environmental awareness and concern about issues such as climate change, resource depletion and higher levels of pollution are having a greater influence on the purchasing decisions and product selection of consumers. In a response to this trend and growing demand for eco-friendly products, manufacturers introduced goods suggested to have a less harmful impact on the environment. A growing number of environmental logos and unsupported claims caused consumer scepticism and created a need for certified environmental logos, which led to the introduction of eco-labels. To date, South Africa does not have a certified eco-label in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) non-food category. The application of eco-labels on products would allow South African consumers to identify eco-friendly options and incentivise producers to develop goods that are less harmful to the environment. In order to establish the requirements for a successful eco-labelling scheme, a literature review was conducted. Based on the findings, a consumer survey was carried out to determine whether there is a demand for eco-labelled goods in South Africa and whether an eco-labelling project will have a significant effect on consumer behaviour in the FMCG non-food category. Statistical analysis of the data revealed that consumers are concerned about the environment and that they will support eco-friendly goods, if the quality and performance are as good as regular products. The survey, however, revealed that consumers are of the opinion that eco-friendly products are not as effective as regular products. The analysis also found that consumers are price sensitive and not willing to pay a large premium for eco-friendly attributes. These are the two main obstacles hindering South African consumers to move to more sustainable consumption patterns. In the survey, consumers also indicated a need for an independent third party to verify environmental claims, manage eco-labels and audit producers to ensure that eco-friendly goods meet acceptable sustainability and quality standards.

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