Sustainable shopping a priority for young Aussies in 2021

Young person shopping while considering sustainability.

Australians are becoming increasingly concerned with sustainability in regards to their shopping choices post-COVID, with 61% demanding more on this front from brands according to new Mastercard research. 

The study found younger Aussies are leading this charge. A quarter of Gen Z respondents said they plan to boycott brands that don’t aim to better the environment through their business practices.

Some of the biggest areas consumers wanted companies to improve on were in reducing waste (38%) and tackling plastic pollution (33%).

This isn’t surprising to Zero Co founder, Mike Smith. In late 2020, Zero Co started delivering environmentally friendly cleaning products packaged in reusable containers made from recycled waste.

Speaking on Mozo’s podcast, The Finance Burrito, Smith said the huge profit-focused multinationals dominating this space haven’t seen major challenges from sustainably-led companies until recently. 

“We’ve got nearly 25,000 Aussies on board in about four months, and it’s because people want a solution and want to be part of that solution,” he said. “I think there’s going to be more companies like Zero Co that come along and start to disrupt the big guys and hopefully they change their ways and come with us on this journey to do things in a better way.”

RELATED: What we learned from 2020’s impulse purchases.

Smith said Zero Co’s “better way” provides products that are just as cost-effective for consumers compared to leading brands, which work just as well and are more convenient because they get delivered to your door. This is all achieved without using harmful chemical ingredients or causing environmental degradation through deforestation and plastic pollution.

How does it work? When you order cleaning products from Zero Co, a starter kit will be delivered to your door which includes a set of what the company calls ‘forever bottles’. These are made from plastic waste pulled out of the ocean and designed to last for generations.

“You also get a set of refill pouches made from plastic waste diverted from landfill, and a postage paid return envelope. You empty the refill pouches into the forever bottles, put the empty pouches in the envelope, and drop it at the post office to send back to us where we clean and refill the pouches and send them back out into the world again,” Smith said.

This sustainable system is two-fold: reducing single-use plastic production while also helping solve plastic pollution through large-scale ocean clean-ups. 

Zero Co is also working towards becoming carbon negative. This will mean you put less carbon into the atmosphere by purchasing cleaning products through the delivery system than if you were to head to the shops yourself.

If this is sounding like your kind shopping experience, you’re not alone. In addition to Mastercard’s report, a recent KPMG study found 91% of millennials and 92% of over-75s (so it’s not just the younger cohort) are prepared to pay more for ethically produced products compared to just 40% prior to the pandemic.

If you’d like to learn more about supporting companies doing good for the planet, read up on B Corps and the rise of ethical business. And if you want your financial choices to align with your ethical and environmental priorities, check out these ethical banking options.