How much more are we willing to pay for sustainably sourced goods?

Scott Haslem

LGT Crestone

“We make the future sustainable when we invest in the poor, not when we insist on their suffering.” Bill Gates

Here’s an interesting UBS Evidence Lab survey of Australian consumers taken in the first two weeks of April, arguably the peak of the lockdown restrictions and heightened concern about pandemics (and job security). The survey asked how much more consumers would be willing to pay to:

  • shop at a store only sourcing sustainable goods; and
  • use renewable energy in their homes.

Interestingly, as UBS notes, “consumers revealed they were more willing to pay for sustainably sourced goods (65%) than for renewable energy (51%)”. Higher energy bills would appear to continue to rank as a sore point for consumers. When moving beyond the category of “just a bit more” to two to three times more, similar results were found. Those prepared to pay more than twice for sustainably sourced goods was around 51%, compared with only about 38% for renewable energy.

When looked at by age cohorts, those younger than 35 years were more prepared to pay more than twice for sustainably sourced goods than those over 35 years—roughly 62% versus roughly 46%. For renewable energy it was starker (and lower) at about 55% for under 35-year olds and around 30% for those older (falling to 10% or so for those over 65 years old).

Interesting stuff. Obviously, when it comes to paying hard dollars rather than completing a survey, results can differ. But at least on the face of this survey, there’s a significant appetite among Australian consumers for sustainably sourced goods and energy. However, that demand is clearly concentrated in the younger cohorts…and people are much more excited about sustainable goods than renewable energy.

How much would you pay for….

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Scott Haslem
Chief Investment Officer
LGT Crestone

Scott has more than 20 years’ experience in global financial markets and investment banking, providing extensive economics research and investment strategy across equity and fixed income markets.

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