More than half (57%) of Australian consumers would never buy from a brand again if it was accused of working with unethical suppliers, according to new research from OpenText. Instead, they would look to find an alternative brand that engages in responsible sourcing.

The survey findings also highlight the pandemic has made consumers more mindful of the impact of their purchases with 84% of consumers planning to prioritise buying from companies that make it clear they have ethical sourcing strategies in place; compared with 73% pre-pandemic.

Nearly half (48%) of Australian consumers judge a brand based on not just its actions but the actions of its suppliers as well. In fact, consumers place such value on buying from ethical brands that well over three quarters (81%) are willing to pay more if they can be sure a product has been ethically sourced or produced. More than three in ten (32%) are willing to spend between 25% and 50% more for that product.

Purchasing ethically sourced or produced items matters to 77% of Australian consumers, though just under a quarter (24%) admit it has only started to matter to them in the last year or so. The majority (81%) of Australian consumers are even willing to compromise convenience, such as accepting a slower delivery, if they can be sure an item has been ethically sourced or produced. Over half (59%) agree they would only opt for this sometimes or for certain items, but more than a fifth (22%) are always willing to make this compromise.

“Creating an ethical supply chain requires having visibility into every supplier. The ethically minded consumer is exercising more control over their buying power. Brands can no longer claim they act responsibly if they have no visibility into their operations or those of their suppliers,” OpenText senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Lou Blatt said.

When shopping online, 49% of Australian consumers now make a conscious effort to purchase locally sourced or produced items to support local businesses and reduce their carbon footprint.

Almost two thirds (65%) of Australian consumers agree businesses have a responsibility to ensure their suppliers abide by an ethical code. More than half (58%) believe that businesses that cannot monitor where their goods have come from and don’t know if suppliers are sourcing goods ethically need to rethink their supply chain.

Nearly two thirds (61%) of Australian consumers agree government should introduce regulation that holds businesses more accountable for responsible sourcing. The majority (83%) also think online retailers should clearly mark whether or not products are ethically sourced where they can.

More than three quarters (78%) admit that knowing where a product has originated from or where parts are sourced is important to their buying decision. For 48%, this information always or often impacts their buying decision.

“Transparency is paramount in building an ethical supply chain, and this can only be achieved through the utilisation of trustworthy information, according to OpenText regional vice president for business ecosystems Asia Pacific, George Harb.

“Having full visibility across the supply chain empowers organisations to do more to meet customers’ expectations when it comes to ethical sourcing and practices, and enables them to hold partners and suppliers accountable. By embracing a single, unified, cloud-based integration platform, organisations will not only optimise the flow of information across the supply chain, but have the transparency to ensure it operates ethically at every stage.”