New Fairtrade India survey finds that Indian consumers care about social well-being

Consumers don’t just care about themselves, finds a recent survey on ethical consumption in India by Fairtrade India.


Have you ever wondered what makes ethical consumers tick? Fairtrade India, an organisation that enables better terms of trade for small and marginalised farmers, endeavoured to find out. Polling consumers online, FairTrade India sought to uncover more about the interests and motivations of consumers who are committed to responsible purchasing.

Do people care about beings other than themselves?

From a list of issues presented, ethical consumers – both men and women alike, considered women’s rights as workers and child labour to be amongst the most important issues in considering what they buy. They’re also concerned about farmer suicides.   Seventy-five percent (75%) of respondents in India said that women’s rights as workers was their top issue overall; and among women respondents, that number rises to 87%. Perhaps surprisingly, these issues were considered to be more important than climate change or GM foods. These findings go against assumptions that more people are concerned with their own well-being above those of others.

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Ethical consumers don’t want to wait for the law to catch up with business responsibility. Eighty-five per cent (85%) of respondents also agreed that upholding the rights of workers and producers, and protecting the environment was a joint responsibility between business and consumers. Young people, the survey found, held businesses even more responsible than older consumers: of young respondents, ages 18 – 24, none thought it was the law’s responsibility to lead on ethical business practice.

Will Indian consumers pay more for ethical consumption?

Perhaps not surprisingly, price was as important as availability for most respondents, with more women ranking it as their top issue. But in spite of this, people who put ethics at the heart of their purchasing decisions are willing to pay more to put their money where their mouth is: ethical consumers, were, on average, willing to spend 25% more for a product they felt was ethical. Quality of the product was also considered to be an important factor for ethical consumers.

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The research is similar to wider findings from other countries when ethical consumerism was in its nascent stages. In the UK, a study from 2000, called “Who are the Ethical Consumers” reported that while price was important, quality was equally, if not more so, for most.

Fairtrade India CEO, Abhishek Jani, says the survey confirms their views on the rise of ethical consumption in India. “This survey confirms our views: that there are ethical consumers out there and that they are willing to support companies and brands who source ethically. It’s our job to show them the way.”


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deborah Doane is a volunteer with Fairtrade India, hailing from Canada and the UK. She's worked on building sustainable economies for over 20 years, with NGOs, think-tanks and the private sector. She believes that we all have the power to change the world. more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deborah Doane is a volunteer with Fairtrade India, hailing from Canada and the UK. She's worked on building sustainable economies for over 20 years, with NGOs, think-tanks and the private sector. She believes that we all have the power to change the world. more

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