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Poll: Only one in 10 ready to pay more for more sustainable food

Few in Finland are prepared to pay more for food with a lower carbon footprint, says the farmers' union newspaper.

Maksutapahtuma kaupan kassalla.
Middle-aged respondents were stingiest about food prices. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Just one-tenth of Finns say they wouldn't mind paying higher prices for food that generates lower greenhouse gas emissions, according to a survey carried out for the main rural daily, Maaseudun Tulevaisuus.

Those most willing to pay more for sustainable food were the highly-educated and those in management positions. Most were supporters of the Greens, the Left Alliance, the Centre and the Swedish People's Party. Respondents most reluctant were backers of the prime minister's Social Democratic Party and the opposition Finns Party.

Some Finnish food chains have begun informing consumers of products' carbon ratings, but say that such calculations are complex and imprecise.

Story continues after graphic.

hiilijalanhalki pirkka
Some Finnish food chains have begun labelling products with carbon ratings.

One third of those surveyed said they wouldn't mind paying more for public transportation if it would lower greenhouse gas emissions, though just one fifth said so when asked about fuel prices.

"Easier to be radical when you're young"

Young respondents were most willing to pay for climate measures.

"It's easier to be radical when you're young. Often consumer behaviour changes when people enter working life, though. It remains to be seen whether members of the younger generation retain their climate awareness as their life situations change," Minna Autio, professor of home economics at the University of Helsinki, told the paper.

The respondents most opposed to paying more were those aged 45-54, with over half saying they didn't want to pay more for anything, regardless of climate concerns. The same was true for low-income people.

Those in rural areas were generally the most prepared to shell out more for public transport but the least willing to pay more for fuel. Residents of the Helsinki region – where significantly more use mass transit – took the opposite view.

Pollster TNS Kantar Agri queried just over 1,000 Finns in early August for the survey. The margin of error is three percentage points.

The company that publishes Maaseudun Tulevaisuus is owned by the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), which has traditional ties to the Centre Party.

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