British Columbian Retailers and Their Environmental Actions

Retailers’ Actions to Help the Environment Continue to be an Important Factor in Store Decision for Adult British Columbians (74% Important in 2009, versus 77% in 2008)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vancouver, BC – A new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of Retail BC finds that a retailer's actions to preserve and protect the environment is an important factor in store decision for most British Columbians, but that the percentage to whom it matters hasn't changed in the past year. Three-quarters of British Columbians feel a retailer's environmental actions are important when deciding where to shop on a day-to-day basis (74% with 21% very important and 53% somewhat important). Environmental actions are not of importance to the remaining one-quarter of the province's residents (24% with 19% not very important and 5% not at all important). Very few are unsure of the importance they place (2%). This is statistically the same as results from a similar poll conducted in April 2008, where three-quarters of British Columbians reported that environmental actions are important in their store decision (77% with 24% very important and 53% somewhat important) and two-in-ten do not consider it to be important (22% with 17% not very important and 5% not at all important).

Despite there being no change in the percentage who place importance on retailers' environmental actions from 2008 to 2009, many British Columbians nonetheless self-report that it has become a more important issue for them. Asked about their views compared to a year ago, fully half of British Columbians claim they are placing even more importance on retailers' environmental actions (49% with 13% a lot more important and 36% a little more important). An equal percentage of B.C. residents claim there has been no change within the past year (49%) while the remaining 2% are either currently placing less importance (1%) or are unsure (1%).

Despite the importance placed on actions to preserve and protect the environment, majority of British Columbians feel judging a retailer's actions is challenging. Only four-in-ten claim they can judge actions very well (38% with 3% very well and 35% fairly well). More say they are not able to judge well (56% with 44% not very well and 12% not at all well). Few are unsure (6%). These findings are similar to the April 2008 poll results where four-in-ten British Columbians claimed they could judge a retailer's performance well (37% with 3% very well and 34% fairly well) and six-in-ten claimed they are not able to judge the performance well (58% with 45% not very well and 13% not at all well).

In the current economic times, many Canadians are cutting back on their spending in a number of areas. For many British Columbians, they are cutting back on environmentally sustainable products about the same as other products (40%). Less than two-in-ten are cutting back on environmentally sustainable products less compared to other products (16%) while fewer than one-in-ten are cutting back more than other products (7%). The remaining one-third of British Columbians are either not cutting back on spending on products (23%) or are unsure of their spending behaviour (14%).

The Retailers and the Environment survey was conducted on behalf of Retail BC. Ipsos is proud to be a sponsor of the Retail BC's Passion for Retail Conference. The conference will give attendees insights into how retailers are able to operate their businesses profitably and sustainability. This event will be held on May 5th, 2009 at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver. For event information and registration, please visit or call 604-689-1463.

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid study fielded from April 10 to April 15, 2009. This online survey of 1,170 adult British Columbians was conducted using Ipsos Reid's proprietary "Voice of the West Interactive Forum" – an online panel of more than 5,000 British Columbians who have been randomly recruited to match the overall characteristics of the adult residents of the province. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online studies of this nature, however, an unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Catherine Dawson
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Reid
(778) 373-5003

Mark Startup
President and CEO
Retail BC
(604) 730-5252

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British Columbian Retailers and Their Environmental Actions


Michael Rodenburgh
Executive Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Marketing