PHILADELPHIA: Sustainability is creeping up the US shopper agenda thanks to an improved economy and a reduced unemployment rate a new survey has claimed.

The latest Tork Green Business Survey, commissioned by hygiene solutions provider SCA, polled more than 2,000 US adults and found that 78% said they purchased sustainable products and services, up from 75% in 2014.

Mike Kapalko, sustainability marketing manager for SCA's North American away-from-home professional hygiene business, said the year-on-year results signalled a broader trend as the percentage of consumers who indicated that they did not purchase green products decreased every year.

"Sustainable purchasing habits are not a result of the same people purchasing more, but rather a new group of people buying these products for the first time," he said.

"There is a groundswell of Americans who do not consider sustainability to be a fad, but rather a new paradigm of purchasing," he added.

Certainly there was a hard core of just over one quarter of respondents who said they knew how to determine if a "green" claim/statement was true based on their own research.

Some 38% thought green products and services were now the new normal and "a required expectation". A similar proportion felt green products and services were only just getting started, while a mere 12% thought they were a passing fad.

And many people appeared ready to back up their opinions with hard cash. Nearly half (46%) of respondents indicated they were prepared to spend more on purchases if they could be guaranteed ethical and responsible manufacturing practices.

This rose to 61% among millennials and to 53% among respondents with a child at home.

The motivation for buying green products was primarily to protect the environment. Almost half (49%) of those surveyed cited this as the main reason, although a quarter of millennials pointed to personal health benefits.

Data sourced from SCA; additional content by Warc staff