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Similarly, the Edelman’s annual global research that explores consumer attitudes around social purpose, including their commitment to specific societal issues and their expectations of brands and corporations shows that when quality and price of a product are deemed equal, social purpose has consistently been the leading purchase trigger for Indian consumers ahead of even many other developed countries.
Apparel retailers like Fabindia and Mother Earth are slowly and surely making inroads in to the ethical fashion space. Alongside the production activities of these companies directly help the marginalised sections of Indian society like cotton farmers, handloom workers and handicraft artisans by helping them generate better incomes. Other brands which have organic products in their portfolio include M&S, Duke, Nike & Van Heusen.
“Solidaridad, which founded Fair Trade in 1980s and have been instrumental in setting up several other similar initiatives in EU, did its own survey in the year 2010 across different retail chains to assess Indian consumer preparedness covering Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore, said Shatadru Chattopadhyay, MD (South & South-East Asia) at Solidaridad Network, when asked if the Indian consumer market ready for ethical apparel products are willing to shell out extra bucks for those products.
“Respondents across all sectors agreed that their preferred fashion brands needs to look into various social, economical and environmental issues related to textile production. It was encouraging to see 55% of respondents are willing to pay a premium of 10 percent in order to buy such products. The institutional buyers are also willing to pay a premium of 10 percent.
“However, all the respondents sighted the lack of such credible, third party, sustainability communication and lack of such brands which have adopted such sustainability communication.
“So, we at Solidaridad do believe if there is a credible and yet a simple way (i.e. a label) of telling the consumer about how their brands have taken care of the society and environment, the consumers would not only be willing to pay a bit extra but also extend their loyalty with such brands. After all, this will allow the consumers in India doing a tiny bit for their society by a simple act of buying their favourite brand.
“A National Geographic Society conducted survey ‘Greendex 2010: Consumer Choice and the Environment’— a worldwide quantitative consumer study of 17,000 consumers from 17 countries shows India ranked as number one in showing preference for more sustainable products, which includes textiles and apparel, knowledge of environmental issues, attitudes toward the environment and sustainability and many more parameters.
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