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Data Snack

People Want to Shop Sustainably. But Do They Really Do It?

September 6, 2022
February 1, 2022
Mae Rice

Studies show that Americans care about the environment — but have trouble translating their eco-friendly preferences into purchases. What's holding them back? We dug into it.

Table of Contents

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Sustainability matters to consumers. Sort of. 

Nearly a quarter of Americans say it’s a top three consideration when they shop product categories like cleaning supplies and baby food, according to a trends report from The New Consumer. 

Source: New Consumer and Coefficient Capital

But do people really put their money where their mouth is? 

Buying green is still atypical…

The GreenPrint’s Business of Sustainability Index found that.… 

  • 77% of Americans care about products’ environmental impact
  • 74% don’t know how to identify sustainable products

A recent Klaviyo report found a similar execution issue in the UK… 

  • 89% of people said sustainability was important to them
  • 27% of people regularly buy sustainable products

What’s the deal? 

…due to costs and lack of regulation.

Two issues confound environmentally-minded shoppers: 

  • Expense: Sustainable shopping costs time, research, and money – though 66% of Americans would pay extra for sustainable products, GreenPrint found. 
  • Greenwashing concerns: There’s no regulation around words like “eco-friendly,” “green,” and “natural,” Reuters reports — so they’re sort of meaningless.

Our takeaway? 

Ironically, consumers talk the sustainability talk but don’t always walk the walk, because they know companies do the same. 

One way for brands to break the cycle? Third-party certifications, like the B-Corp Certification

Mae Rice
about the author

Mae Rice is editor in chief at MarketerHire. A long-time content marketer, she loves learning about the weird and wonderful feedback loops that connect marketing and culture.

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