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Industry News87% of Canadian consumers looking for circular economy initiatives: Study

87% of Canadian consumers looking for circular economy initiatives: Study


Capterra Canada’s latest research study of over 1,000 Canadian consumers revealed that 87 per cent of Canadian consumers acknowledge that their behaviour has a direct impact on the environment. This understanding is reflected in their buying habits, as the same percentage of 87 per cent reportedly favour buying products from companies with active circular economy measures in place. 

The first half of Capterra’s report substantiates this, revealing that despite a lack of confidence in their knowledge of the circular economy (only 13 per cent were confident in their understanding of the circular economy), Canadians are certainly interested in contributing to sustainable shopping.

One of these practices is buy-back programs. While 88 per cent stated in the survey that they care about extending the life cycle of their products, only 8 per cent routinely participate in them, revealing a significant disparity between interest and participation.

“With buy-back programs, just as with many other sustainable practices, the onus cannot fall entirely on the consumer. Of course, consumers can’t participate in programs that don’t exist or they’re unaware of,” reports Tessa Anaya, analyst for this study. “Businesses wishing to appeal to sustainable-minded consumers should not only invest in trade-in programs, locally-sourced products/supplies, and eco-friendly manufacturing processes but also aim to be as transparent as possible about these changes in marketing efforts.”

The survey revealed that Canadian consumers’ most common sustainable habits included:

  • Separating recycling from normal waste (79 per cent) 
  • Using reusable grocery bags (78 per cent)

When it comes to buying behaviours, numbers are typically lower, possibly due to increased effort or cost of actively shopping sustainably (the first half of our report showed Canadians are split 50/50 on whether they’d be willing to pay more to support a circular economy). Just 20 per cent buy local or “kilometre-zero” products regularly, and only 13 per cent always prioritize buying second-hand products.

Second-hand shopping 

Sixty-three per cent of Canadians reportedly buy second-hand products at least sometimes, and 79 per cent have sold their used items at least once, making the second-hand economy one of the most important driving factors of the circular economy in Canada. A significant 86 per cent of respondents often donate products that they no longer use. Of those who do not partake in the second-hand economy, it is not caused by a lack of interest. In fact, 28 per cent said that they would prefer to donate or give away used items, rather than sell them.

Reducing food waste 

Although apps like TooGoodToGo are making strides in Canada to reduce food waste, a mere seven per cent of Canadians are actively using them, and just 27 per cent are aware of them. However, 30 per cent of respondents reported that they would like to support businesses that actively reduce food waste.

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