Australian consumers believe ethical purchasing is important but are failing to follow through.

While 87 percent want to change their fashion consumption habits to consume more ethically, just 46 percent indicate that they regularly purchase from ethical/sustainable fashion brands. 

These findings come from the new The Australian Ethical Consumer Report, released by development organisation Baptist World Aid Australia in collaboration with social research company McCrindle. The report seeks to understand the attitudes and beliefs of Australian consumers towards ethical fashion consumption and uncovers the key motivations for Australians when making purchases. It reveals that most Australians feel a sense of global responsibility and want to change their consumption habits, but cite lack of awareness of ethical brands and expense as the two greatest barriers to doing so. 

Baptist World Aid created an online quiz to help individuals become more ethical consumers by identifying their consumer type. They can also score themselves on the Ethical Consumer Index included in the report, which measures their behaviour against ‘the 5 As’ of ethical fashion: Agency, Attitude, Awareness, Action, and Advocacy. 

Baptist World Aid Australia Director of Advocacy, Peter Keegan discussed why this report is so valuable. “There’s a dissonance between who we want to be, and what we’re doing to get there. Almost three in four Australians believe ethical fashion and related issues of human rights and environmental sustainability are important, with three in five consumers becoming more aware of the impacts of their purchases over the past three years. But a large portion of consumers are still struggling to take those next steps towards purchasing ethically. Tools like The Ethical Fashion Report are created to bridge this gap and help consumers to match intention and action,” Peter explained.

Generational and gender divides are also apparent when it comes to ethical consumption, with Generation Z females scoring highest across all demographics. 

This reflects a greater sense of global citizenship by younger generations identified in the survey results and a greater propensity to engage with news, resources and other information about ethical fashion. 

McCrindle’s Director of Advisory, Ashley Fell explained this further. “Aussies pride themselves on supporting a ‘fair go for all’, and this couldn’t be more applicable when examining the issues of injustice surrounding ethical fashion. We see younger generations and women more open to changing their habits to align with this value.” 

Peter went on to discuss the impact the report can have. “This report reveals we have a long way to go when it comes to ethical consumption and understanding the impacts that our purchases have on the environment and people around the world. But with tools like The Ethical Fashion Guide and the My Shopping Type Quiz, we can take those next steps towards becoming more ethical consumers.”