A lack of awareness of ethical fashion brands and the price of such pieces are proving to be the greatest barriers for Australians to purchase ethically made clothing, new research from Baptist World Aid Australia shows. 

While 87% of Aussies want to change their fashion consumption habits and buy more ethically made/sustainable clothing, only 46% of respondents said they regularly purchase from ethical/sustainable brands. 

The findings form part of the new Australian Ethical Consumer Report, released by Baptist World Aid and social research company McCrindle. 

The report draws from national data and seeks to understand the attitudes and beliefs of Australian consumers towards ethical fashion consumption. 

Baptist World Aid director of advocacy Peter Keegan said that while Aussies are interested in purchasing ethical garments, they aren't sure how to go about it. 

"There’s a dissonance between who we want to be, and what we’re doing to get there," he said. 

"Almost three in four Australians believe ethical fashion and related issues of human rights and environmental sustainability are important, with three in five consumers becoming more aware of the impacts of their purchases over the past three years. 

"But a large portion of consumers are still struggling to take those next steps towards purchasing ethically.

"Tools like the Ethical Fashion Report are created to bridge this gap and help consumers to match intention and action," he said. 

Other key findings from the report include the divide between generations and genders and their purchasing habits. 

According to the report, Generation Z women scored highest across all demographics, showcasing a greater sense of global citizenship and a greater propensity to engage with news, resources and other information about ethical fashion. 

"‘Aussies pride themselves on supporting a ‘fair go for all,’ and this couldn’t be more applicable when examining the issues of injustice surrounding ethical fashion," McCrindle director of advisory Ashley Fell said.

"We see younger generations, and women, more open to changing their habits to align with this value," she said. 

Accompanying the report is an online quiz which enables Aussie shoppers to identify their own consumer type from 'Practical Purchasers', 'Intentional Individualists', 'Socially-Minded Shoppers', and 'Conscious Consumers'.

Consumers can also go one step further can score themselves on the Ethical Consumer Index, which measures their behaviour against the 5 A’s of ethical fashion: attitude, agency, awareness, action and advocacy.

The five-minute quiz examines whether Australian consumers are more driven by their personal benefit or the benefit of others, and whether they buy thinking about current needs or future impacts.

"This report reveals we have a long way to go when it comes to ethical consumption and understanding the impacts that our purchases have on the environment and people around the world," Keegan added.

"But with tools like the Ethical Fashion Guide and My Shopping Type Quiz, we can take those next steps towards becoming more ethical consumers," he said. 

Baptist World Aid has been publishing the Ethical Fashion Report and Guide since 2013. 


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