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  • Writer's pictureDavid Connolly

Sustainability, green traits key concerns in brand selection: Report

Over seven in 10 US consumers say it is at least moderately important that brands offer ‘clean’ products (78 per cent), are sustainable and environmentally responsible (77 per cent), support recycling (76 per cent), or use natural ingredients (72 per cent), according to a report by IBM and the National Retail Federation (NRF). Millennials are leading the charge in sustainability awareness.

However, every age group indicates that sustainability, environmental and personal wellness attributes are significant considerations in selecting brands.

Nearly 57 per cent are willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce negative impact to the environment, and among those who say sustainability is important for them, this jumps to 77 per cent, according to the report titled ‘Meet the 2020 Consumers Driving Change.’

Moreover, of those who say these traits are very important, over seven in 10 are willing to pay a premium for brands that support recycling, practice sustainability, and are environmentally responsible.

While Gen Z cites health and wellness as their top priority, clean products are most important for the other groups. Interestingly, natural or organic attributes are of lower importance across age groups.

With sustainability front and center, consumers do more than just check the list of ingredients on a label. They want details about sourcing, how products are made or processed, as well as how they are delivered.

Of the consumers surveyed, 73 per cent indicate that traceability of products is important to them. Of those who say this trait is very important, 71 per cent would pay a premium for it. Shoppers also seek information on corporate sustainability policies.

Many want assurances that brands support recycling, fund charitable causes, or take other actions demonstrating social responsibility. When consumers choose a product with sustainability in mind, 84 per cent say brand trust is important—in other words, consumers are using brands as a proxy for the attributes they seek.

Strikingly, regardless of how much consumers trust a brand, they will still do extensive research before purchasing. Even 75 per cent of brand-driven consumers say they conduct substantial amounts of research prior to making purchases. Therefore, trust and credibility need to be constantly reinforced, the report added.

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