The role sustainability plays in dramatically shaping our future is acknowledged globally yet not taken nearly as seriously as it should be when it comes to action and change. Despite being reminded of its effects every day through rising temperatures, brands will often let it be overshadowed by more ‘pressing’ objectives. So what are we actually sacrificing when sustainability becomes an afterthought?

In the age of the hyper-informed consumer, a strong commitment to sustainability is proving to be more important with every day that passes. A recent Nielson study found that consumer goods brands with sustainable initiatives experienced 4% growth in 2015, while the rest grew less than 1%.

This growth can be attributed to a number of key factors, with insights for brands of all sectors to take note of.

Brand Trust
It was found that over 62% of consumers globally were influenced by brand trust as the most compelling sustainability factor when it came to purchasing.

A generation of young, socially conscious consumers are coming of age, seeking products and experiences that align with their values, and brands building trust in this space will ultimately win out.

This knowledge is best seen taking effect in Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, which focuses on growing business while increasing positive social impact and reducing environmental footprint.

Premium Spend
Building on this trust, it was reported that 66% of respondents globally would be willing to pay more for sustainable goods, up 10% on 2014 and 50% in 2013. This figure wasn’t just for the wealthy urban crowd, but for all types of income levels and regions.

Young Money
The global map of wealth has seen significant shifts in recent years with the rise of the self-starter consumers holding considerable wealth, but for millennials of all incomes it was found that 73% would be willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings, which was a 50% increase on 2014.

sustainability consumer decisions hero

Health & Wellness
Tapping into the ‘better me’ economy, many consumers are looking for brands that offer something that is both good for them and positive for their community. Making a product’s health and wellness benefits clear will help to create stronger purchase decision drivers, with over 59% stating that would find this offer compelling.

Over half also stated that brands offering fresh, natural, and/or organic ingredients would also influence their purchase behaviour.

Eco Warriors
When it comes to sales intent, commitment to the environment has the power to sway product purchase for 45% of consumers surveyed. Commitment to either social value or the consumer’s community are also important (each influencing 43% and 41% of respondents respectively).

Sustainable commitments take time to roll out, but finding a balance in your existing strategy and offer is a great place to start.

Read the full report here: http://www.nielsen.com/ca/en/press-room/2015/consumer-goods-brands-that-demonstrate-commitment-to-sustainability-outperform.html