Pictured: Conscious Consumers CEO Ben Gleisner

Social enterprise Conscious Consumers has today released data showing the spending preferences for more than 10,000 New Zealanders, revealing they care most about minimising packaging and waste.

Since launching in September last year, 10,382 people have signed up to become a conscious consumer.

By registering their credit card and selecting the ethical considerations which are most important to them, Conscious Consumers has been able to scientifically quantify what matters most to New Zealand consumers.

“Thanks to our Good Spend Counter tool, we track consumer spending at registered businesses and pair this data up with the importance rating each consumer places on various ethical practices,” Conscious Consumers CEO Ben Gleisner explains.

“In short, we connect the money people spend with the values they care about most so businesses can understand what is important to their customers. From there, they can improve their social and environmental impacts accordingly.

In order of importance, weighted by consumer preference and associated spend, these are the things New Zealanders care most about:

    1. Minimising packaging and waste
    2. Animal welfare
    3. Caring for workers
    4. Sourcing Fairtrade products
    5. Taking action on climate change

Click here for a summary of what New Zealanders care about.

“New Zealanders can see the level of waste that companies are generating through excessive packaging.  We hope this data gives manufacturers and retailers confidence that making changes in their packaging approach is not only good for the environment, but also good for business,” Gleisner says.

Conscious Consumers’ Good Spend Counter system allows consumers to vote for what they believe in with their money, and show businesses clearly what they care most about. For businesses, that’s invaluable data which they can easily track on a cloud-based platform.

“The data helped us make the call to switching all our meat to free range,” says Conor Kerlin, co-founder of New Zealand’s largest American-Mexican restaurant franchise Mexicali Fresh.

“We could tell that the people who were eating at Mexicali Fresh really care about animal welfare. When you have the data to back it up, it’s a no-brainer to make the move to give our loyal fans what they want.”

Thanks to the system, changes are being made in businesses across New Zealand. For example, more than 50 businesses have begun composting since joining the Conscious Consumers programme. Together, they’re diverting more than 45,000 kilograms of waste from landfills every year.

Millennials, which are now the most lucrative demographic to marketers, support socially, ethically, and environmentally responsible business more than any other generation.

“As business practices become more transparent than ever before and consumers become more educated about traditional manufacturing, businesses must address the concerns of their customers,” Gleisner says.

“To ignore the demands of consumers for better business is not only morally irresponsible, it’s dangerous for bottom lines too. If you don’t do the right thing, another business will.”

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