Are People Willing to Pay More for Environment-Friendly Products?

Published June 5th, 2021 - 06:00 GMT
saving the planet
the fight against climate change is not limited to government. (Shutterstock: Milleflore Images)

Even before the pandemic, the world has been quite concerned with the ongoing climate change, with governments, activists, and initiatives pushing for more cooperation to stop the phenomenon from affecting our lives.

When we talk about environment-friendly practices we often think of planting trees, replacing gas-run cars with electric ones, cleaning oceans, and other large-scale activities that have proved to reduce carbon emissions that are harming our planet.

Yet, as individuals we are in constant need of our ability to make a huge difference, through introducing a few modifications to our daily lifestyles, ones that can gradually rescue planet Earth from the climate change risk.

How many times a week do we go shopping? How many new items do we purchase every month? How can these activities help our world?

Awareness campaigns that have been spreading knowledge of which items hurt the environment the most have attracted the attention of many businesses and startups that have already begun producing green products, ones that are fit for multi-use or quick-to-dissolve in nature without causing lots of damage to the ecosystem. However, such items tend to be a little more costly than the ones humanity has grown accustomed to purchasing in recent years.

Now, there are reusable shopping bags, ethical clothes, and accessories, in addition to bamboo kitchenware and personal hygiene products. Yet, most of these products tend to cost a little more than the plastic ones available in bulk in supermarkets across the world.

It is for a variety of reasons that eco-friendly products are usually more expensive than their harmful counterparts. Firstly, sustainable items are often made of organic materials that need to be grown and taken care of for a long time. Secondly, organizations that are concerned with the environment are often concerned with other aspects of ethical businesses such as offering workers decent wages and working hours, requiring a larger workforce that sales should cover eventually.

The question now is whether we, the consumers, are willing to pay a little more money on those products to save the environment or not. 

A study by YouGov has tried to offer answers to this question, by surveying consumers in the US, the UK, Australia, and Germany. In most of these countries, more than 50% of people surveyed expressed their willingness to pay a little extra money for an eco-friendly product. The study has also noted that younger generations, particularly Millennials and Gen Z showed more openness to the idea as opposed to older generations. 

While no similar studies have yet been conducted in our region, it is expected that a majority of residents in the Middle East will be more inclined to purchase the cheapest items regardless of the harm to the environment, not because they do not care about it, but because the acute economic conditions they live in, especially in non-oil producing countries, often result in prioritizing saving money over other concerns.

Meanwhile, local startups in the Middle East might want to explore new ways of creating green items using materials with an abundant availability so they ensure wide reception from consumers.

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