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Consumer culture Nine out of ten Swiss want to buy less, survey finds

A picture of shoppers passing a shop window

For 44% of respondents, saving money was the primary reason for wanting to buy less. 

(Keystone)

A World Wildlife Fund (WWF) survey published on Monday has found that the majority of people in Switzerland are considering shopping less, and young people are particularly likely to take a critical look at their buying behaviour.

The Swiss consume “as if there is no tomorrow”: they fly twice as frequently as their neighbours, buy the heaviest cars in Europe, and produce more waste per capita than in any other nation on earth, the WWF said in a statementexternal link on Monday.

However, a representative surveyexternal link conducted by market research company GfKexternal link on behalf of the WWFexternal link found that nine out of ten Swiss are re-evaluating their consumption behaviour, albeit for different kinds of reasons.

Diverse motivating factors

Some 1,000 people from Switzerland’s different language regions took part in the survey. It found that for 44% of respondents, saving money was the primary reason for wanting to buy less, making their reasons for reducing consumption economical rather than ecological, the WWF wrote. On a national level, only 20% of people considered consuming less in order to protect the environment, according to the survey.

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The desire to save money was cited particularly often in French-speaking Switzerland, where 19 out of 20 people said that they wanted to consume less.

By contrast, people in Italian-speaking Switzerland cited environmental concerns as a reason to rethink their consumption more often than those in all other areas of the country.

For the German-speaking Swiss, the desire to have more time rather than material goods was mentioned more often than in other regions.

Less is more

The younger the study participants were, the more they reported feeling that they consumed too much. On average, participants felt that others consume more than they do themselves, wrote the organisation.

For the WWF, it is clear that “our current consumption of resources is damaging for the environment”. Whilst energy efficiency has brought about “some improvement”, it is not enough, and people needed to rely more on the principles of self-sufficiency external linkto protect the environment in the long run.

SDA-ATS/swissinfo.ch/ln

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