Ethics as important as price for increasing number of consumers

A new survey released today by ethical beauty retailer, The Body Shop, indicates that in spite of the tough economic climate, ethics are as important, if not more important, than price with today's increasingly eco-conscious consumers.
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NEW YORK, -- A new survey released today by ethical beauty retailer, The Body Shop, indicates that in spite of the tough economic climate, ethics are as important, if not more important, than price with today's increasingly eco-conscious consumers.

In the US the findings revealed that 76% of consumers are making more purchasing choices based on the corporate behavior and ethics of a company than they were five years ago and 43% of those polled say that they make those purchasing decisions on a weekly basis.

"Green isn't going away, but consumers will be working overtime to add up the 'value' of all their purchases. They'll be asking questions like 'How good is it for the environment versus the other brand?' and 'What other personal benefits are tucked in here?'" says Corinne Asturias, VP, Consumer Strategist for Iconoculture, a leading cultural trend research company.

Other findings included:

-- 70% of respondents cite quality of goods and trust in the brand as their criteria for buying a product
-- 39% say they purchase based on the ethical reputation of a company
-- 38% say price and value is their criteria for purchase

Shelley Simmons, Director of Brand & Values Initiatives for The Body Shop in North America said of the findings: "A growing number of people are demanding more from the businesses that produce and sell the goods they buy. Not only do they feel they have the right to a high quality product, they want to know that the company they buy from is transparent and honest about how those goods reach the shelves."

"They want the story behind the product that assures them that the company has treated its suppliers fairly and that it has done its best to take into account its impact on the environment; and that perhaps someone has actually benefited from the sale of that product."

"The retail world is going to have to take notice of this powerful group of consumers. If they respond to the expectations of the eco-shopper everyone will benefit: Customers, suppliers, the planet and the businesses themselves. It is a win-win for everyone."

More than 9,500 consumers across the US and Canada took part in the survey during July 2008.

The Body Shop launched a new initiative on Facebook to sign a "Together & Fair" Pledge to encourage shoppers to "think ethical" when making a purchase. By signing up to the Together & Fair Pledge supporters make a commitment to tell at least one person a week about a new ethical product or service they have discovered.

Ms. Simmons added: "The power of the internet and word of mouth is huge. We know from our findings that personal recommendations amongst friends, families and colleagues are extremely effective."

"Our instinct is that there are many more people out there who would make ethical purchasing decisions if they had the information easily at hand."

"After all, we all have busy lives -- our jobs, our children and families -- and it can be difficult to find time to discover who is genuinely taking the ethical lead. Our new Facebook launch will encourage people to spread the word on retailers and businesses who are doing their best to support ethical initiatives that protect the planet and animals, stand up for human rights issues, support fair trade initiatives and make a positive difference."

To join The Body Shop's Together & Fair Pledge initiative, please visit www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=38069680928

Signatories to the Pledge will be updated on the growing number of eco-consumers who commit to spread the word.

Founded in 1976 by a social and environmental activist, Dame Anita Roddick, on the basis of being a business model of positive social change, The Body Shop has been a pioneer of ethic behavior in the beauty industry and beyond. The company has campaigned on causes ranging from the protection of whales and rainforests to human trafficking, promoting self-esteem, domestic violence and HIV and AIDS.

This year, The Body Shop celebrates 21 years of its Community Trade program, an initiative dedicated to providing a fair deal to suppliers in some of the poorest areas of the world. With Community Trade ingredients and accessories featured in all The Body Shop stores, the program benefits more than 25,000 people across the world.

Beginning in September 2008, there will be a new look to The Body Shop stores and online channels. Visually impactful, celebratory and informative, the new look communicates The Body Shop philosophy and its commitment to providing customers with high quality products as well as the chance to make a positive difference in the world.

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