My name’s Martin Grimmer, I’m associate professor in marketing in the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics at the University of Tasmania. I work in consumer behaviour; I’m a psychologist by background so I’m interested in why it is that consumers act in the way that they do. Most surveys will show that about thirty percent of people intend to purchase environmentally friendly products but don’t do it. My research has been involved in trying to explore that disconnection between intention and behaviour. We’ve got a large research project where we look at seeing the effect of having consumers do carbon foot-printing for their household. We can see if having done the carbon foot-printing makes a difference. The end result is to achieve an informed consumer. There’s two reasons why an informed consumer
is important. One is that on a personal level, Australian’s owe about a hundred and thirty dollars for every hundred dollars that they earn. On a larger scale the average Australian household wastes about thirteen hundred dollars a year in goods and services that they purchase that they don’t actually use, and each individual Australian produces about a tonne of waste every year. So it’s got to go somewhere and eventually we’re going to run out of places for it to go. So the extent to which we’re actually spending and consuming beyond our personal means, but then beyond the means that the planet can actually sustain. The overall beneficiary of the outcome of
the research is hopefully the planet, in that we are able to provide at least the beginnings of a mechanism to assist governments in constructing policy that will produce some sort of impact on climate change. There is a benefit to virtually every business in being aware of what it is that consumers respond to. If you actually present consumers information about the real effort that a company puts into being environmentally friendly or ethical, consumers overwhelmingly prefer that company, that’s a competitive advantage. If we’re able to affect a household so that
all that they do is reduce their carbon emissions by half a percent, that’s about one point
nine million metric tonnes of carbon – so in essence all the carbon for about a hundred and fifteen thousand Australians. All of that adds up, and you don’t actually have to produce a massive change, all you have to do is produce a small change and that will actually make a difference.