Project Summaries 2010-2011 - My Sustainable Canada

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How Do Consumers Identify Sustainable Products and Services?


Consumers’ choice of products and services can have a significant impact on the sustainability of our communities and our country. While polling data suggests Canadians want to do the "right thing" and purchase appropriately for a sustainable future, consumers are often confused as to which products or services to purchase. This confusion can arise from several sources such as information received through advertising messages, an increase in the number of product labelling schemes that infer sustainability, salespeoples' advice, in-store marketing, etc.

If we ask Canadians to identify "sustainable" products or services, are they capable of making informed and appropriate choices?

The key research questions that will be addressed are:

  1. What sustainable products/services are used/purchased by typical Canadian shoppers?
  2. How do consumers identify which of the products/services they use/purchase are sustainable or non-sustainable?
  3. What factors influence their choice between competing sustainable and non-sustainable products/services?
  4. For which product/service categories would interventions influence consumers to select sustainable over non-sustainable products?
  5. What interventions would consumers respond to in these products/service categories?
  6. Are there significant differences in the above behaviours among different demographic groups/segments of Canadians?
  7. What sustainable consumption segments exist in Canada based on the above behaviours?

Expected Outcome

Based on the outcomes, the organization will be able to advise governments and other stakeholders on the types of interventions that could lead to enhancing the ability of consumers to effectively identify and purchase sustainable products/services.