- Young Americans aged 18-34 are willing to pay even more for environmentally-friendly merchandise (80%) than the older generations.
- Among the consumers who shop for sustainable merchandise, 72 percent use labels or third-party certifications on the item’s packaging to confirm if it is in fact environmentally friendly.
- “The data clearly shows Americans want companies to validate their sustainability claims through independent sources, both on the corporate level and for their products.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that inflation rose nine percent in June, even more than expected, as price pressures continue to intensify. Despite this increase and all of the methods that shoppers are taking to make their dollar go further, sustainability is still top of mind.
The Overwhelming Public Demand for Sustainable Solutions
GreenPrint’s annual Business of Sustainability Index found that despite high inflation, 66 percent of Americans are willing to pay more for sustainable products in comparison to non-sustainable competitors. Young Americans aged 18-34 are willing to pay even more for environmentally-friendly merchandise (80%) than the older generations.
Similarly, a new Stifel study found that 81 percent of consumers aged 18-55 based in the U.S., UK, Germany, France, Italy, and China believe that companies should act sustainably. Sixty-four percent are also willing to pay more for brands with leading sustainability practices. The survey also revealed that shoppers are prioritizing good value (69%), low price (52%), and reputation for durability (51%) as their top purchasing priorities over other considerations including style and innovation.
Label Your Eco-Friendly Products Properly
Despite the desire to purchase sustainable goods, 78 percent of Americans say they do not know how to identify such brands, according to GreenPrint’s findings. To confirm a company’s environmental friendliness, 50 percent agree that clear language on products is important, and 46 percent say third-party or independent source confirmation is critical. Among the consumers who shop for sustainable merchandise, 72 percent use labels or third-party certifications on the item’s packaging to confirm if it is in fact environmentally friendly.
“Americans are very clear — they want sustainable solutions and are willing to pay more for them, if only they knew how to find them,” Pete Davis, CEO and Co-Founder of GreenPrint, said in a press release sent to WholesaleCentral. “We are in the midst of a significant acceleration in public demand for sustainability, and companies that do not meet that demand will quickly fall behind their competitors, especially with young Americans.”
Growing Trust Gap Between Americans and Corporations
The GreenPrint study also revealed a significant trust gap between Americans and corporations when it comes to sustainability. Only 38 percent of American consumers believe companies most or all of the time when they make claims of environmental friendliness, a noticeable drop from 47 percent in GreenPrint’s 2021 study. Overall, 41 percent say American corporations are doing a poor job at reducing their carbon footprint. When it comes to demonstrating an actionable commitment to becoming more environmentally friendly, 56 percent of shoppers say airlines and fleet services are not doing well, followed by the energy/gas industry (48%).
“Over the past year, public trust in the authenticity and effectiveness of companies’ sustainability efforts has eroded significantly,” Davis said. “This puts businesses making genuine progress in a bind because their actions are less likely to be recognized. To win back trust, the data clearly shows Americans want companies to validate their sustainability claims through independent sources, both on the corporate level and for their products.”
It is abundantly clear that customers still prioritize sustainable products, even in the middle of an inflation crisis. As retailers begin their holiday preparations, it would be wise to stock up on environmentally friendly merchandise and give shoppers what they are looking for.