Many leading brands are making well-publicised efforts to improve sustainability and their green credentials, but if some marketers have any lingering doubts about the commercial benefits of adopting such an approach, then a new survey should allay their concerns.

According to research firm Toluna, 58% of US consumers of all age groups identify themselves as being ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ environmentally conscious, with almost half (45%) of those aged 18 to 34 stating that it is extremely important to buy goods that are produced in an environmentally friendly way.

And it seems this attitude translates into direct action because more than a third (37%) of the 1,000 US consumers who took part in the survey say they seek out and are willing to pay up to 5% more for environmentally friendly products. Furthermore, they are actively changing their shopping habits to do so.

Toluna’s 2019 Sustainability Report also reveals that consumers are now more likely to purchase specific items from brands that are environmentally friendly, including cleaning products (42%), drinks (37%), pre-packaged food (35%), cosmetics and toiletries (34%), clothing (31%) and cars (29%).

In addition, a third (34%) of respondents feel it is very likely that concerns about environmentally friendly packaging will continue to grow over the next year and they indicate that the next materials to be reconsidered by manufacturers will include foam packaging (42%), single-use drink containers (39%) and plastic rings (35%).

“Consumers engage with a variety of brands as part of their daily lives. They have come to expect to see their changing values reflected in the products they use, especially when it comes to the environment,” said Jay Rampuria, EVP of global business and corporate development at Toluna.

“To remain competitive, consumer packaged goods companies must ensure that they not only focus on environmentally friendly products as well as larger corporate operations but also communicate those efforts to younger, more socially responsible consumers as their purchasing power increases,” he added.

And to leave brands in no doubt about what is expected of them, the survey also found that twice as many consumers believe brands are more important when it comes to changing consumer behaviour than governments or local regulation (51% versus 25%).

Sourced from Toluna; additional content by WARC staff