96% of Americans Engage in Sustainable Behaviors, Per Findings From SB Brands for Good, Part of Sustainable Brands

Report provides insights and data on the sustainability intention-action gap and where brands can play a role
Sep 22, 2021 8:00 AM ET
Press Release

SAN FRANCISCO, September 22, 2021 /3BL Media/ - Today, SB Brands for Good, part of Sustainable Brands, released a special report for brand leaders titled “Driving Consumer Behavior Towards Sustainable Lifestyles: 2020-2021 Socio-Cultural Trend Report on Consumer Sustainability Intentions & Actions.” This report is the cumulative result of a year’s worth of consumer research tracking the changing drivers and behaviors of consumers around the intersection of brands and sustainable living. This research establishes benchmarks for consumer intentions towards adopting sustainable lifestyles, determines which actions they are taking across the Nine Most Impactful Sustainable Behaviors, seeks to understand the social issues where consumers most want to see change, and highlights where they expect brands to play a role.  

The report finds that sustainable aspirations have entered the mainstream, with 96% of US consumers saying they at least sometimes try to behave in ways that protect the planet, its people, and its resources - with no significant difference in behavior across socio-economic, geographic or gender divides.  However, while the biggest hurdle to taking action is the perception that it’s too expensive, second on the list is not knowing where to start, a barrier that brands have the power to help people overcome. 

Furthermore, the sustainable behaviors that US consumers have most heavily adopted are the ones already embedded in mainstream culture; this affords brands the opportunity to use their collective influence to make sustainable lifestyles aspirational, accessible, and rewarding for consumers at scale. In fact, the report found that 4-in-5 consumers say they would switch brands for a more sustainable option if all else were equal, proving that when executed correctly sustainability can also confer a competitive advantage in the marketplace. 

The report also examines societal issues: for example, while sustainable behaviors on average declined 3-4% between Q3 2020 and Q2 2021, women were on average 8% less likely to be engaging in sustainable behaviors. This trend may be correlated to the disproportionate effect the pandemic has had on women, between higher job loss, increased household and childcare responsibilities, and higher likelihood of getting long-COVID. This serves as a stark reminder of the importance of supporting women and girls as one of the keys to ensuring a just and timely climate transition. Through the lens of the Nine Most Impactful Sustainable Behaviors, the disempowerment of women has a negative ripple effect on their ability to adopt and promote sustainable living.

Research from SB Brands for Good continues this autumn; a new round of research surveing 5,000 US consumers and measuring year-over-year changes in attitudes and behaviors around sustainability will be released in October. International research is also planned in the UK, France and Germany in Q4, and select regions in LatAm, Asia, and Canada in Q1’22.

To read the full white paper, visit https://sbbrandsforgood.com/socio-cultural-trends/

For more information about SB Brands for Good or to be included in future research opportunities, visit  www.sbbrandsforgood.com

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About the Research

Quantitative data was collected online within the United States by The Harris Poll in conjunction with Brands for Good with field dates of July 29, 2020, through August 10, 2020, December 17, 2020, through December 22, 2020, and May 3 - May 7, 2021. The sample was among the U.S. general public, weighted to be nationally representative, adults 18+. 

About SB Brands for Good

SB Brands for Good is on a mission to make sustainable living easier and more rewarding for people around the world. It is working with experts on the leading edge of sustainability, innovation and marketing to harness brand influence to make sustainable lifestyles more attractive, attainable, and enduring. Convened by Sustainable Brands, Corporate Partners of Brands for Good include Procter & Gamble, Target, PepsiCo, Visa, Nestlé , CVS Health, McCormick & Company, General Mills, HP Graphic Arts, The Clorox Company, Mastercard, Logitech, and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health.  Contributing Partners include WeSpire, Futerra, Porter Novelli, Ipsos, Grounded.World, ANA, and The Guardian. Visit www.SBBrandsforGood.com for more information or to join the movement.

About Sustainable Brands

Sustainable Brands is the premier global community of brand innovators who are shaping the future of commerce worldwide. Since 2006, our goal has been to inspire, engage, and equip business leaders and practitioners who see social and environmental challenges as an essential driver of brand innovation, value creation, and positive impact. We believe that - 1. Brands are uniquely positioned to align business and society on the path to a flourishing future; 2. Those brands that embrace this challenge will prosper in the 21st century; 3. Accomplishing this challenge requires a new way of seeing the world - along with a new set of skills, tools, and collaborators. For more information visit SustainableBrands.com.