Australian consumers are becoming more environmentally conservative as they realise the effect it is having on their children and future generations.

“Children tend to drive the passion. Once parents are exposed to what’s really going on they are a lot more motivated to adopt sustainable practices,” said Rob Cawthorne, Managing Director, Carbon Reduction Institute.

Speaking on sustainability at this week’s National Retail Forum, Cawthorne believes consumers are starting to learn more about the effects of their carbon footprint. He says the business-to-business world is setting the path, but consumers are following suit.

“Consumers are definitely getting on board – an example lies in how successful carbon offset programs have been with discount airlines. Social and economic demographics definitely play a part at this stage.”

Appearing alongside Pierce Cody (Macro Wholefoods) and Richard Evans (Australian Retailers Association), Cawthorne will participate in ‘Business of sustainability – issues for retail’, a panel discussion set to address the impact of the plastic bag levy, what key retailers are doing, what initiatives work, and the impact carbon footprints have on the supply chain.

“The Carbon Reduction Institute would like to see plastic bags banned altogether. This issue is that alternatives such as organic bags, have their own environmental ramifications as they contribute to the world food shortage. There are many factors that need to be considered,” said Cawthorne, who will also present ‘Turning climate change into business opportunity’ at Retail Expo Australasia, which runs in conjunction with National Retail Forum.

Visit for full program details.