More consumers consider worker rights before buying

More people are choosing which businesses to buy from, based on how they treat their workers.

The findings come from the 2018 New Zealand Consumer Survey which found that 48 per cent of respondents will always, or most of the time, consider purchases based on knowledge of how the business treats its workers. This was 11 per cent more than in the 2016 survey.

“These findings show it’s more important than ever for businesses to comply with minimum employment standards and have assurance systems in place, to ensure workers are being treated fairly and prevent any negative effects on their branding and bottom line,” says Employment Services General Manager, George Mason.

“Also of note is that consumers who are self-employed or running their own business are more likely than consumers overall to always consider worker rights before purchasing. This suggests that many business owners are already aware of the importance of worker rights, and that it’s becoming best practice for businesses to address these issues.

“We encourage all businesses to undertake checks of their own and their supply chain’s employment practices, including conducting labour rights risk assessments. Businesses with a good reputation for their sustainable practices, creating ethically produced goods with assurances workers are treated fairly in their business, will be able to rise to the consumer demand. As this survey shows, nearly half of all consumers will consider not buying from those who don’t.”

The survey also found that 18-26 year olds, females, and consumers with more knowledge about consumer rights are more likely to consider how workers are treated, when making purchase decisions.

Employment New Zealand provides detailed guides for employers on adhering to their rights and responsibilities and sets out some practical steps to identify and mitigate labour rights issues in supply chains.

Practical steps to identify and mitigate labour rights issues in your supply chain  [PDF 140KB]

Anyone concerned about the employment situation of themselves or someone they know is advised to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20, where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.

Survey results on consumers’ purchase decisions affected by how a business treat workers [PDF 434KB]