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Sustainability a thing of beauty in Brazil… but not if it costs more

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 05-Mar-2013
Last updated on 05-Mar-2013 at 17:49 GMT

Sustainability a thing of beauty in Brazil… but not if it costs more

Brazilian consumers have long led the way when it comes to green behavior and being sustainably-conscious, however they are not prepared to pay through the roof for products that meet these requirements.

According to the latest research from Mintel into ‘Green Lifestyles’ there is growing interest and favorable conditions for “green” behaviour in Brazil, and for products that meet these requirements.

Indeed, revealing consumer sentiment on the issue, today that 73 percent of Brazilian consumers claim that their individual behaviour can “really have an effect” on the world’s environment.

And, according to the Union for Ethical BioTrade a vast majority of Brazilian consumers are seeking natural ingredients when buying cosmetics with most seeking ethical and environmental seals and want to know the origin of these components.

The Mintel report also reveals some interesting green behaviour between genders. For example, more women think about the environment when buying a beauty/personal care product (71% vs 61% of men).

Extra cost?

However, despite this, the market researcher finds that Brazilians are less likely to consider environmental factors if they cost them more, with 69 percent claiming that prices concern them more than environment.

“Even when they show great concern for the environment, it seems Brazilian consumers are not prepared to accept solutions that will cost extra,” explains Sheila Salina, Brazil research analyst at Mintel.

Salina explains that as consumers are constantly bombarded with information in sustainability; this creates confusion, which has the impact of making consumers more sceptical about the claim.

“The most successful way to address this is to combine affordability and functionality with the use of sustainable technologies,” she offers.

“Companies and products that are capable of aligning price, quality, and sustainability will be best positioned to capture consumer attention and capitalize as a result.”

Green washing

Meanwhile, it seems consumers in Brazil do believe in the potential of companies to generate social and environmental changes in the communities in which they operate, with nine in ten people claiming that green actions from companies can really have an effect on the world’s environment.

However, they believe these don’t go beyond of a strategy of “green washing”, with 81 percent of people saying they don’t believe companies are as green as they say they are.

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