Quebec’s responsible consumption in 2014: Where do we stand?

The 2014 Responsible Consumption Index paints a portrait of Quebecers' current responsible consumptions habits.

Since 2010, a team of researchers from the Observatoire de la consommation responsable of UQAM’s School of Management (ESG) has been monitoring Quebecers’ responsible consumption behaviours. Close to 1000 consumers were surveyed. After five years of research, the team can now paint a portrait and draw some conclusions about consumer behaviours in Québec:

1. A passing grade for the RCI

According to the Responsible Consumption Index (RCI), we are making slow but steady progress. Since 2010, our standing has increased by only one point, from 64 to 65.1.

2. Sex and age

Good news! The difference between the responsible consumption behaviours of men and women is diminishing. Men have caught up to women, closing the gap observed over the past five years. We now see very little difference between the habits of men and women.


As for age, people 45-64 years old are more inclined to consume responsibly than those in other age groups. The 18-24 age group earned the lowest score.

3. The most popular eco-friendly products

The most popular eco-friendly products purchased are, not surprisingly, fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, tomatoes, apples and lettuce. In 2014, many eco-friendly products were also local purchases, which is excellent news for small local businesses.

4. What stands in the way?

When it comes to “shopping green,” people meet with a number of obstacles: the price, not knowing enough about certifications, product marketing, the extra time it takes, and doubts about product performance. In 2014, 60% of consumers still find eco-friendly products too pricey compared with other, similar products.

Interesting facts:
  • 82.7% of Quebecers believe that consuming better means, above all, simply not consuming non-essential products and services.
  • Fewer than one in five consumers rely on certification labels when shopping.
  • Consumers are skeptical! Less than 15% of Quebecers feel confident about the commitment of companies to sustainable development.
  • Buying local products is the second most common responsible behaviour after recycling.

Since 2011, Cascades has been deemed the most responsible brand and company. Next in line are the companies that produce household cleaning products: Attitude, Bio Vert and Hertel. Other top ranking companies include Lavo, Tim Hortons and Metro. This is a sure sign that consumers care about their health and the cleaning products they use in their homes.

Read the complete report: Baromètre de la consommation responsable

How about you? What responsible behaviours have you and your family adopted? Do the price and performance of eco-friendly products still stand in your way when shopping? Which results from the report do you find surprising?

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About the Author
Anne-Marie Gingras

A Communications Advisor with Cascades since 2011, Anne-Marie now also fulfills the position of Community Manager. She holds a BA in Public Communication from the Université Laval and a Certificate in Marketing from the Université de Trois-Rivières. As Community Manager, she is in constant contact with the public, sharing the company's newest innovations and reporting on its involvement within the communities it calls home. "I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work for a company that is responsible, respectful and transparent. It gives me a great sense of pride! Through social media, we are now able to interact with the population and we value this close contact. Cascades is an organization that encourages creativity and initiative, which allows us to develop in a very stimulating work environment."

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