Almost three-quarters of Scottish consumers are concerned about environmental and sustainability issues and a similar proportion say they are more concerned now than they were three years ago, new research reveals.

The research was revealed at webinar for Scottish Wholesale Association members, which was supported by data and digital experts TWC, who shared findings from its own research programme.

Delegates also heard that sustainability already influences where consumers shop for groceries, with 38% of Scots agree with this statement, and this is going to rise in importance as 50% of those asked said that it will influence where they shop more in the future.

Tom Fender, Development Director of TWC, said: “Increasingly, consumers are voting with their pockets. It’s now much less about ‘offsetting carbon footprints’ which doesn’t go far enough and let’s face it, there aren’t enough trees in the world to go round – it’s about taking carbon out of the business completely and that means adopting the principles, ‘reduce, recycle, reuse’.

“It’s a widely held belief that there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050 and it’s heartening that the SWA is helping its wholesale members to take sustainable issues very seriously whilst looking to make a real difference to help retailers and operators meet consumer’s needs and aspirations”.

The SWA already supports its members with its Decarbonisation Project, the first phase of which has quantified the emissions produced by the wholesale sector, to set out the scale of the challenge of the transition to net zero.

Colin Smith, Chief Executive for the Scottish Wholesale Association, said: “This research supports SWA’s activities in helping wholesalers decarbonise their business and increase their range of locally sourced products. We know this is particularly important to Scottish consumers, supported by the data that showed 64% agreeing that they try to buy locally sourced products when they shop for groceries – which is higher than for the UK overall.”

Smith added: “This means considering elements such as 20-minute neighbourhoods and building on local provenance and sourcing.  This extends further than products on shelves, it means recruiting and growing local talent and supporting communities in their widest sense.

“Scottish consumers were vocal about putting their money where their mouth is as to where they shop and 71% agreed that they think food retailers who don’t take sustainability issues seriously are likely to lose out in the future.”

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