Mind the Gap - The Green Premium
Even someone with the best intentions to buy green products must somehow make the leap over ‘the green gap’; that is, the price difference between an eco-friendly product and a not so eco-friendly one. Price is a major factor for many people when doing their weekly shop and coming in on or under budget with that shop can be incredibly important.
This is where the Green Premium comes in. Sustainable products will often cost a lot more than the bulk imported, mass produced ones. This increased cost associated with green products prices them beyond the budget of average NZ households. The higher price then perpetuates the perception that these sustainable products are only for wealthier people that can afford them. Living green should be for anyone and everyone but by default the marketing has made it appear to be a choice that some people may not have the luxury to make.
Importantly, we need to look at whether these eco-friendly products should be priced higher. The cheaper, imported, mass produced items are made for a purpose; low cost, high profit. If a sustainable product does cost more to produce, (which it inevitably will as it will not be exploiting anyone or thing), should that cost be put entirely onto the consumer or should the company be bearing a larger portion of it. Yes, people choose to buy eco products over others but should that be treated as a sacrifice on a personal level. Should consumers be penalized for choosing the more sustainable option? By forfeiting this profit in the short term, companies could make these items within reach for everyday shoppers, making them the new norm. Wouldn’t that be great - you walk into a supermarket and a product that will be kind to the environment, your body, your wallet and your ego (because who doesn’t feel better for buying green) was sitting right there next to an unsustainable product produced by non renewable resources that doesn’t biodegrade! We shouldn’t just dream…