New Survey Supports How Canadians Not Only Embrace but Expect Sustainable Business Practices

The 2nd Annual Canadian Tork Green Business Survey observes a maturing, yet youthful trend in 2015

OAKVILLE, ON, Sept. 23, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, SCA, the maker of the Tork brand of away-from-home hygiene products in North America, releases the results of its second Tork Canadian Green Business Survey. As a global pioneer working to make sustainability a more common practice in the marketplace, the Tork brand continues to offer its customers sustainable product solutions and greater visibility into consumer expectations through this annual assessment of consumers' green purchasing behaviors and motivations. More than four out of five Canadians (87 per cent) purchase products/services that have a less degrading impact on the environment and human health, with more than two in five (43 per cent) believing that "green" products and services are now the new normal, "a required expectation." Findings also highlight differences in opinions and motivations behind "greener" purchasing behaviours, not only amongst Canadians, but with United States neighbours, as well.  Harris Poll fielded an online survey on behalf of SCA from August 19-21, 2015 among 1,014 Canadian adults and from April 20-April 22, 2015 among 2,082 U.S. adults.

"Though originally intended to monitor general changes in public perception, this survey also highlights the similarities and differences between Canada and the United States. At SCA, sustainability is at the heart of how we make our products, and it is interesting to know how consumers across markets feel about green products. We want to help businesses remain abreast of these behavioural changes in order to be ready to meet customer expectations," said Mike Kapalko, sustainability marketing manager for SCA's North American away-from-home professional hygiene business.

A maturing, yet youthful trend
In comparison, this year, more American consumers (78 per cent) say they purchase sustainable products and services than have said so in previous years, whereas data suggests that Canadians have been slightly ahead for the past two years with 87 per cent in 2015 (86 per cent in 2014i). While sustainability continues to gain traction in the U.S., the trend seems to be plateauing in Canada as it progressively settles in as a new norm. In 2014, a majority of Canadians (43 per cent) believed that "green" products and services were "just getting started"ii. This year, the majority has shifted: the same percentage of Canadians now feel that it is the new normal, a "required expectation." Additionally, two in five (40 per cent) feel that sustainable purchasing is really just getting started, with Canadians aged 35 to 44 significantly more likely than any other adult age group to share that thought (53 per cent versus 37 per cent). On the other hand, despite representing a minority of opinions, one in ten Canadians (11 per cent) still believe the concept to be a fad meant to disappear. Findings indicate that men (16 per cent) are significantly more likely than women (6 per cent) to think this.

Willingness to pay
In the U.S., almost half (46 per cent) of adults are willing to pay more for products if guaranteed of their ethical and responsible manufacturing practices, versus 40 per cent in Canada. The fact that Canadian adults are less inclined towards paying extra for "green" products might be another sign of sustainability normalizing itself in Canadian lives - and expectations. Indeed, Canadian consumers may no longer have the desire to pay a premium for practices that are to be expected – as the new norm - from businesses.

"There is a new wave of Canadians who do not consider sustainability to be a fad, but as a new paradigm of purchasing, in addition to those who have integrated sustainability in their purchasing behaviours," adds Mike Kapalko. "As these products move further into the norm and Canadians are increasingly unwilling to pay more for them, businesses will have to compete to find new ways to capture market share."

In 2014, half of Canadian respondents (50 per cent) were willing to pay more for sustainably produced goodsiii. But this year, the same claim was made by fewer Canadians (40 per cent) and more than half (52 per cent) are not willing to pay any more than they do today. While three in ten (30 per cent) U.S. adults would pay up to a 10 per cent premium for these products and services, the portion of Canadians has slumped from 35 per cent in 2014iv to 27 per cent in 2015. Only nine per cent of Canadians would pay a 10 to 20 per cent premium (compared to 11 per cent of Americans), and only 3 per cent of Canadians and 4 per cent of Americans say they would pay over than 20 per cent more. Overall, Canadians seem to be less willing than Americans to dig deeper in their pockets for sustainable products.  The exception is millennials, who are a lot more likely than any other Canadian adult age groups to say they would pay more (60 per cent versus 32 per cent).

Minimal impact of the economy on purchasing behaviours
More than one in ten Canadians (12 per cent) claim to have made fewer green purchases this year - four per cent more than in 2014v - which denotes the slight impact that recent changes in the economy have had on green purchasing behaviours. That being said, more Canadians (17 per cent) said they have increased their green purchases, while the majority (58 per cent) have not been impacted by recent changes in the economy and believe they have purchased the same amount over time. In fact, Canadians aged 35 to 44 (68 per cent) are significantly more likely than those aged 18-34 (50 per cent) to say that the economy did not affect their green purchasing habits (a 10 per cent rise since 2014 for the 35 to 44 age groupvi). Conversely, Canadian millennials are significantly more likely to indicate an increase in green purchases than adults aged 35+ (24 per cent versus 14 per cent).

Motivations for going green
Half (50 per cent) of Canadian consumers who purchase green products do so because it is better for the environment, with those aged 45 and older significantly more likely than younger adults aged 18-44 to indicate this (59 per cent versus 38 per cent). Meanwhile, millennials (29 per cent) are more motivated by health benefits than those aged 35+ (17 per cent). These trends are similar in the U.S. and Canada.

Best Business Practice, from a Consumer Perspective
According to Canadian adults, there are preferred ways for businesses to show their commitment to being green. The method with the greatest consensus (28 per cent) is that businesses show their commitment through designation on menus and store shelves for greener choices. One quarter (24 per cent) feel businesses should display posters or flyers explaining their commitment ; and one in ten (11 per cent) feel businesses should explain their green programs and information on websites to best communicate, which was twice more likely to be indicated by millennials (15 per cent) than adults aged 45 and over (7 per cent).

2015 Survey Methodology
Harris Poll fielded the survey in Canada on behalf of SCA from August 19-21, 2015, via its Quick Query Global online omnibus service, interviewing a sample of 1,014 Canadian adults aged 18 years and older.  A similar survey was fielded in the United States from April 20 to April 22, 2015, with a sample of 2,082 U.S. adults. Results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with non-response, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100 per cent response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

2014 Survey Methodology
This survey, using Leger's OMNIWeb Canada, was completed online between May 12 and May 15, 2014 using Leger's online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1,504 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Leger's online panel has approximately 460,000 members nationally – with between 10,000 and 20,000 new members added each month, and has a retention rate of 90%. Panel members are randomly selected to receive email invitations to the individual surveys.

About Tork
The Tork brand offers professional hygiene products and services to customers ranging from restaurants and healthcare facilities to offices, schools and industries. Products include dispensers, paper towels, toilet tissue, soap, napkins, and industrial and kitchen wipers. Through expertise in hygiene, functional design and sustainability, Tork has become a market leader. Tork is a global brand of SCA, and a committed partner to customers in over 80 countries. To keep up with the latest Tork news and innovations, please visit: or

About SCA
In North America, SCA produces the Tork line of dispensers, towels, tissue, soap, napkins and wipers used in commercial settings such as office buildings, restaurants, schools and healthcare facilities and the TENA® line of incontinence care products used by consumers at home and in healthcare facilities. TENA and Tork are the global leading brands in their categories. For more information visit

Globally, SCA is a leading hygiene and forest products company. We develop and produce sustainable personal care, tissue and forest products. Sales are conducted in about 100 countries under many strong brands, including the leading global brands TENA and Tork, and many regional brands.  As Europe's largest private forest owner, we put great emphasis on sustainable forest management.  SCA has about 44,000 employees. Sales in 2014 amounted to $15 billion. SCA was founded in 1929, has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm stock exchange. More information at

In Canada, SCA operates nationally employing 280 people with head offices in Oakville, Ontario and manufacturing facilities in Drummondville, Quebec.

SCA delivers sustainable solutions with added value for our customers from safe, resource efficient and environmentally sound sourcing, production and development. Recent third party accreditations for the SCA sustainability work include Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2013, the WWF Environmental Paper Company Index 2013, and Ethisphere – World's Most Ethical Companies 2014.

i Leger, The Research intelligence Group. « Green Products » Survey. May 16, 2014. Accessed on Sept. 1, 2015.  
ii Leger, The Research intelligence Group. « Green Products » Survey. May 16, 2014. Accessed on Sept. 1, 2015. 
iii Leger, The Research intelligence Group. « Green Products » Survey. May 16, 2014. Accessed on Sept. 1, 2015. 
iv Leger, The Research intelligence Group. « Green Products » Survey. May 16, 2014. Accessed on Sept. 1, 2015. 
v Leger, The Research intelligence Group. « Green Products » Survey. May 16, 2014. Accessed on Sept. 1, 2015. 
vi Leger, The Research intelligence Group. « Green Products » Survey. May 16, 2014. Accessed on Sept. 1, 2015. 


Image with caption: "“Canadians consumers take sustainability to the next level.” (CNW Group/SCA)". Image available at:

For further information: or to request a copy of the survey results, please contact Yannick Gayama, (514) 447-3943 or

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