Retail buyers should have their bonuses cut for failing to source product lines with lower carbon footprints, it was claimed this week.
Dr Andy Fearne, head of the Dunnhumby Academy of Consumer Research , said that if retailers did not take this kind of action the industry would face government intervention over climate change.
" If we leave it to consumers, M&S and Tesco to drive change, it won't happen," he said. "Markets will fail to deliver the sustainable solution and then we've got government intervention. And you've got to ask yourself if you want that, because they will choice edit with a big stick."
A move towards sustainable consumption would require a fundamental change in supermarket business models of supermarkets, he said. "We've got to build supply chains where the value grows by producing less, not more. Otherwise we will continue to consume too much."
Fearne, speaking at a round table debate hosted by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, also said Tesco Clubcard data showed customers were not principally motivated by price. "Less than 20% of consumers are fundamentally driven by price, so why do we treat them all as price-sensitive crack pots who just want to fill cupboards?"