The Dutch want more sustainability, yet only 33% pay attention to quality brands when buying

We are all aware of the will to do good for people, animals and the environment. But we find it much harder to act on this. It appears from the social experiment and research conducted by Fairtrade Holland. Almost all Dutch people believe that companies should pay reasonable prices to farmers and growers and that exploitation of people should be banned. In addition, almost 80% of respondents believe that it is important for the products you buy to be sustainable. Yet only 33% of Dutch people pay attention to quality brands when buying products. And it’s remarkable, they say, because quality labels can actually help consumers make more sustainable choices.

Fairtrade Holland’s social experiment also confirms this: ten random Dutch people were presented with a range of sustainability issues and dilemmas using a scale. The result of the experiment makes it painfully clear that we are far from there. How precise is the gap between our intentions and our behavior? And what steps can you take yourself to become more sustainable? Fairtrade Holland will explain it during Fairtrade Week, from 7 to 15 May.

The social experiment
Fairtrade Holland asked several Dutch people to take part in a social experiment. Participants were not informed in advance about the client, the themes and the questions. So they also did not know what kind of social experiment they would participate in. The scale and the red and green bricks indicate the degree of durability. The questions asked could only be answered with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. For example, participants were asked to answer questions such as: Should we be careful about our planet? Do you ever worry about the climate? Do you think the environment and nature are important? Do you think companies should pay a fair price to farmers? Do you think men and women should be treated equally? Questions that are fairly general and were often answered with ‘Yes’.

Difficult dilemmas
Dilemmas where action is required made it more difficult. For example, participants were asked if they would be willing to take the train instead of the car? And would they stop wearing jeans if they knew they needed more than 7,000 gallons of water to make them? She was also asked if they would give up part of their salary so that men and women earn equally? What ultimately weighs more? The individual or society?

The research
To substantiate the social experiment, Fairtrade Holland has asked the analysis agency Q&A to submit ten questions from the social experiment to their online panel. The results are representative of the Dutch population. Almost all respondents (96%) believe that companies should pay reasonable prices to farmers. And that exploitation of people must be banned. Something that Fairtrade Holland has been committed to since the beginning. 78% of respondents also find it important that the products they buy are sustainable. So produced with respect for people, animals and the environment. It is therefore particularly striking that only 33% of the respondents are aware of quality marks when making their purchases. While quality labels can actually help consumers make more sustainable choices.

The ball is in the other court’s court
It is also noteworthy that 76% of respondents believe that the government should oblige companies to produce more sustainably. “Interesting to see that when it comes to sustainability, we often pass the ball on to someone else.” says Meike Koster from Fairtrade Holland. Supermarkets believe that consumers should have free choice and place sustainable products next to less sustainable products. According to them, it is up to the consumer to choose the sustainable variant. Consumers, on the other hand, put the ball in the hands of businesses and the government.

Photo right: Meike Koster

Koster: “Fairtrade Holland is not only working to raise consumer awareness, but has also been advocating for years for the government to provide legislation, so that a level playing field is created for companies and the bar in terms of sustainable production and procurement is raised. ., including a higher price for farmers.

The intention-behavior gap
According to behavioral researcher Cameron Brick, who is affiliated with the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, it is understandable that we are not always aware of the consequences of our daily choices. For the consequences are not immediately visible. Brick: “When you shop, you do not see the gallons of water and chemicals used to make your t-shirt, or the tired faces of coffee farmers who worry about their children’s hunger when drinking a cup of coffee. with cheerful packaging and nice words to divert your attention from the bitter truth that sometimes lurks behind the product “.

Meike Koster from Fairtrade Holland adds: “It takes time and effort to act and adjust your behavior. In addition, it is time consuming to gather information and make an informed decision. To ask questions and find out the truth. We are all focused on our own busy life and often only in the present. With this social experiment we try to make visible the so-called intention-behavior gap and with our Fairtrade Week we and our partners offer solutions how to reduce the gap. Fairtrade Week we also try to inform and explain about misunderstandings about Fairtrade because many consumers still think Fairtrade equals more expensive, while more and more private labels and other budget-friendly brands are offering Fairtrade products. “

Start small
Behavioral researcher Brick indicates that it is fine to start small. Bricks: “Pay attention to products with a quality label when you shop. For example, when buying coffee, bananas, chocolate, but also clothes, flowers and wine.” Koster adds: “When buying, try to think long-term instead of just here and now. Another easy way is to express yourself via social media about your Fairtrade preferences and discussing it with others also helps.”

Source: Fairtrade Holland

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