Canadian consumers wary of green product claims

23 June 2023 2 min. read
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Canadian consumers are showing some healthy skepticism about corporate claims of sustainability toward their products, according to a recent Deloitte Canada report.

The consulting firm’s study – which surveyed 311 business leaders and 1,008 consumers in April – found a disconnect between how companies and consumers view sustainability claims and products.

Over half (57%) of Canadian consumers do not believe most green claims that brands make. In contrast, 71% of business leaders think the public has a significant or moderate level of trust in the authenticity of sustainability claims.

“Companies are falling into a false sense of security, believing that if they just produce a seemingly better product and bring any sustainability claim to it, it’s going to do well,” said Joe Solly, partner, risk advisory, Ontario leader for sustainability and climate change, Deloitte Canada.

Business leaders seem largely unconcerned or unaware of how skeptical Canadians consumers are. Less than half (41%) feel they’re at risk of greenwashing accusations if they pursue sustainability goals.

Canadian consumers wary of green product claims

Meanwhile, nearly half (46%) of consumers aren’t willing to pay extra for sustainable products – highlighting the difficulty of identifying which products are genuinely sustainable. Nonetheless, 94% think brands should be creating green products.

“It starts with a commitment by leadership, and a holistically integrated approach to sustainable practices, from design, supply, manufacturing, transportation, and all the way to marketing,” Solly said. “This is how brands can build consumer trust and strengthen the case that sustainable products are indeed the better choice and offer the highest value.”

Committing to established, third-party certifications is one way to generate trust. More rigorous regulations for sustainability claims – which are on the horizon – are another way to cut down on greenwashing and build momentum for authentically green products.

Deloitte’s report also found that nearly two-thirds of Canadian firms have considered developing sustainable products or services – but of those that did, 62% thought R&D was too costly.

Companies that weren’t considering green products pointed to a lack of consumer demand (36%), said it wasn’t a priority (24%), or said they were worried about being able to do so authentically (17%).