Sustainability industry insights: sustainability or savings?

Each month we use our amazing platform and insight team to take a deep-dive into a different industry to understand current trends and what’s driving consumer behaviour. This month it’s Sustainability. Register to download the full PDF below and keep up to date on our content, including more industry insights, downloadable ebooks and reports, webinars & more…

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Sustainability is high on the agenda for businesses, but what about for British consumers? In the current climate where costs are rising exponentially, we asked 500 Brits where sustainability fits in their priorities and how they feel about the role brands play in ‘doing the right thing.

Whilst consumers claim to want to do more to support sustainability in the next 12 months, right now they have bigger priorities. Businesses are expected to act in an ethical manner but to be trusted, they need to be transparent in achieving, or falling short of sustainability targets.

Attitudes towards acting sustainably.

7 in 10 consumers say that they want to buy sustainably, but with 3 in 4 consumers who claim to have little or no money left at the end of the month, it’s hardly surprising it’s not high on their agenda.

  • 70% want to buy more sustainable products.
  • 47% it’s just not high on my agenda.
  • 69% say sustainability is important but other things take priority.

“I know it’s important to look after the planet and be mindful of what we consume and how, but this is a tough time to be running a household and it’s more important to me that we eat properly than where the things I buy come from.” – Female, 35-44

“I am really concerned about the state of the planet, it’s undeniable that we’re on the brink of massive climate disaster but it’s really hard to keep that in mind every minute of the day, and sometimes other things take priority or life just gets in the way!” – Male, 35-44

“We also try to buy products which are sustainable or animal friendly, however, with the cost of living, if these sorts of products are a bit more expensive, we might have to sadly look at cutting back on them, even though I know it’s not the right thing to do.” – Male, 25-34

Doing the right thing

Over half of consumers say that companies’ ethical practices have become more important to them since the start of the pandemic, but few trust the ethical claims businesses are making. To be believable, they expect businesses to be transparent about sustainability targets.

  • Half agree ethical business practices are important.
  • 3 in 5 do not agree that they trust brands to do the right thing.
  • 3 in 4 want businesses to be truthful about meeting/falling short on targets.

“I think there needs to be more honesty from the petrol/energy brands – they talk about starting to do better, but it feels like they do more carbon offsetting rather than proactively looking at coming away from carbon altogether and moving towards greener energy, which is what’s needed.” – Male, 25-34

“Brands are all getting on the environmental bandwagon now, even companies that claim to be ‘good for the planet’ like Oatly for example, but some of their packaging isn’t even recyclable – I wish brands would be a bit more upfront about their actual efforts here rather than using sustainability as a marketing platform.” – Male, 35-44

What’s next?

3 in 5 consumers don’t think sustainability will be more important to them in the next 12 months. Those who say it will be more important skew younger. To what extent do you feel sustainability will become more or less important to you in the next 12 months?

  • 40% More important
  • 49% Same importance
  • 11% Less important

Download ‘What’s happening in…Sustainability’!

How can we help?

ESG continues to be a hot topic for our clients. STRAT7 Researchbods has conducted many consumer studies around the subject of sustainability.

We have a robust quantitative understanding to identify to explore meaning, experience and attitudes, as well as validating needs and opportunities. We also have flexible but proven formula-incorporative qualitative deep dives, with studies in automotive, grocery and food under our belt, speak to your Bods team to find out more.

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