Consumer are willing to pay for alternative outdoor garments without hazardous chemicals | Swedish study



Many outdoor garments are impregnated to make them water and, in some cases oil repellent, but the impregnation agents can be hazardous to human health and the environment. Some examples of such hazardous impregnation agents include per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. 

To reduce the risks related to these fluorinated substances, a phase-out is necessary, and voluntary avoidance by consumers may be one way to make this happen. This experimental survey investigates the extent to which information about the hazardous properties of fluorinated substances affects consumer willingness-to-pay for alternative outdoor garments without hazardous chemicals. The experiment was conducted by means of a questionnaire distributed to more than 4000 Swedish respondents via the Laboratory of Opinion Research's Citizen Panel. The results show a generally high willingness-to-pay, and that the effects of providing information are higher when the price increase is high.

This suggests that there is room for a price increase if the non-hazardous options are more expensive. This survey experiment indicates that the Swedish general public is ready for substitution to garments without hazardous fluorinated chemicals if the alternative provides an identical function. Information campaigns, however, will have limited ability to increase the willingness-to-pay for an alternative as it is already high.

Despite the general willingness of the Swedish public to choose less hazardous options, legislative measures may potentially be the most effective action when supply chains are opaque and information to consumers is limited.

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