What is the new Spanish consumer like?
The OCU (Organization of Consumers and Users) and the NESI Forum of New Economy and Social Innovation presented last February 2019 a study on the trends of sustainable consumption of Spanish consumers. Under the title “Another consumption for a better future”. This study investigates citizens’ knowledge of and commitment to ethics and sustainability, and identifies the barriers that prevent them from carrying out sustainable consumption.
The data in the report come from a survey of 1,284 people representing Spanish society, the conclusions drawn from 3 discussion groups of consumers committed to ethical and ecological issues, an exploratory survey of 340 people on consumption habits, and 26 interviews with experts in sustainable consumption and in new economies (circular, collaborative, feminist, green, social and solidarity, ethical finance…).
How to build a better future
As its title suggests, a notable aspect of this report is its recommendations for building a better future. Among the main proposals, addressed to consumers, public administrations, and movements and companies that promote an ethical and sustainable economy, are:
- Generate consumer alternatives that offer clear and transparent information on products and affordable prices.
- Involve citizens, help them understand the impacts they generate by consuming in a non-responsible way.
- Prepare non-financial balances or triple-impact measures that allow consumers to communicate the added value of networks, movements or companies with respect to other proposals.
- Develop models that encourage the shift from “product to service” and from “possession to use” through programmes co-designed with local citizens.
- Apply sustainable consumption proposals to the fashion sector through education to reduce over-consumption and the promotion of second-hand donation and buying and selling.
- To help citizens understand the added value of ethical finance and the social and economic impacts of their money.
- To support the benefits of the collaborative economy as an engine of citizen awareness.
- Propose alternatives to mass tourism, and show the citizen attractive options, positive for the environment.
“73% of Spaniards make consumption decisions based on ethical or sustainability reasons.”
Sustainable consumption is possible
The data provided by “Other consumption for a better future” offer the following conclusions:
- 73% of Spaniards make consumption decisions based on ethical or sustainability reasons.
- The most receptive consumers to consume in a sustainable way are limited by the lack of information (60%), by the lack of affordable (58%) and accessible alternatives (proximity, comfort, availability…) (54%), or by the difficulty to find responsible companies (52%).
- Sustainable consumption does not only refer to what we buy, but, above all, to a lifestyle.
- 62% of Spaniards consider that their consumption decisions are a very powerful tool to change the world.
- Although they do not know well the different currents of the new economies, 57% of consumers feel identified with their messages at the service of people and the planet.
- More than 50% of citizens would support the initiatives of movements and companies that promote an ethical and sustainable economy (“new economies”).
- The common motto of the new economies at the service of people and the planet is “consume less and better”.
- The new economies provide consumers with confidence, well-being, resilience and savings of natural resources.
It follows from this report, therefore, that a large proportion of consumers condition their consumption decisions on ethical and environmental aspects, and that they are prepared to change their consumption habits in favour of a sustainable future.
Cover image: Reuben Teo