BMA and B&Q 'team up' to help customers save water

Published:  13 March, 2012

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association and DIY retailer B&Q have announced their plans for a new collaborative piece of industry research.

B&Q will work with the BMA to look into how the industry can improve how they communicate with consumers about saving water.

The aim is to align the language used by manufacturers, retailers and installers to engage with the consumer and develop a terminology toolkit to help them choose bathroom products with better environmental credentials.

Ben Earl, environmental affairs manager for B&Q, believes that industry is far better placed to this than academics or government.

"It is plain to see that we must move on from hectoring about saving the planet, as research is showing that the 'doom and disaster' approach to the water-saving agenda just isn't making an impact with consumers any more," he said. "As an industry we need to explain the benefits of water saving bathroom products clearly and simply."

The government 'Water For Life' white paper, published in December 2011, challenged the industry to do more to educate customers to help them make informed decisions when buying new bathroom products.

However, research has shown that customers shy away from bathroom products dubbed "efficient", as they fear it means compromised performance.

Yvonne Orgill, chief executive of the BMA, said: "Documents from our archives show that we were talking about how to save water as far back as 1906, so it certainly is not a new topic for us. But we live in a time where bathing is no longer purely functional – it's a very emotive experience for consumers.

"The good news is that there has been a real shift in customer psyche, with a recent study showing that 45% feel that the environmental credentials of bathroom products is important to them when making a purchase.

"However there is the hurdle to overcome in that, for example, reduced flow rates does not mean a compromised showering experience. We know as an industry that there are showers with flow rates of less than 6 litres designed to give the performance of a traditional 10 litre gusher. The challenge is for us to find the correct way to get this across to the consumer, which often begins in the showroom or on the shop floor."

B&Q also aims to incorporate the BMA's Water Label onto all electric showers it stocks by the end of 2012.