You might think you have to incentivize people to get them to buy products that are best for the world. After all, we get comfortable with the items we use on a regular basis, and we don’t like expensive things, right? Well, the latest consumer research shows that people are actually more likely to buy an eco-friendly or ethical product if it is priced at a high value rather than a lower one.

Why are we willing to pay more for eco-friendly products? The research showed that consumers perceive eco-friendly and ethical products as of intrinsically higher value, and they were willing to pay for the difference. In an age where we generally expect to get our goods as fast and as cheaply as possible, these findings could shed light on an area of opportunity when it comes to the topic of sustainability.

The sales study is a good example of the power that manufacturers can have in setting greener standards for living. Take the company, Humanscale for instance, “a sustainability and ergonomics-minded manufacturer of office products and furniture.” The company has been working hard in response the the Living Product Challenge, which asks companies to make their products greener and more socially just.

To meet the qualifications of the Living Product Challenge, items need to have net zero energy and water use, not use toxic chemicals, and be sourced locally, among other factors. Humanscale quickly realized how challenging it is to ensure that all of its suppliers and sub suppliers meet these rigorous requirements, but they’ve seen a trickle down effect to some of their workers making sustainable changes in their own lives at work.

Another example of eco-friendly change coming from above is the government of Jammu and Kashmir in India which has decided to switch to using handmade paper for office supplies, as opposed to objects like plastic folders. The policy is good for people as well as the environment, since it supports the rural artisans who make the handmade paper products that the government will use.

Personal lifestyle changes are important, since the power of the consumer is always strong. However, it also looks like big companies and government organizations have the ability to set the stage for the changes that have big ripple effects when it comes to building a more sustainable world.


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