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Consumers prefer – and are willing to pay more for – products that use sustainable or recycled materials, new research from Monash University reveals.

According to the university's Australian Consumer and Retail Studies unit (ACRS) there has been a significant shift in the decision-making drivers of purchase, with 21st century consumers opting to purchase from brands that align with their values.

The research found that 91% of consumers want brands to use sustainable ingredients and material, while 92% believe that sustainable business practices should be the standard.

More than half of the respondents indicated that it's important that products are fully made from recycled materials.

Lead researcher of the study Dr Eloise Zoppos said that consumer's attitudes towards purchasing have shifted to an ethically-driven standpoint.

"Consumers today find less joy in excessive spending, and choose to spend money on experiences rather than material goods.

"The modern shopper is constantly searching for meaning, not only in how they live, but also how they consume.

"Price and convenience aren’t the only purchase drivers anymore; consumers want to buy ethically, with global impact being front-of-mind," she said.

The ACRS research also showed that two thirds of consumers are willing to spend more on products that come from a sustainable or socially conscious brand, a figure which increases to 73% for millennials.

70% of respondents said they will also pay more for products that don't infringe on human rights.

The research was released on 27 June. 

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