Consumers want brands to put people and planet ahead of profits, study finds

Nine in 10 respondents believe sustainability should be standard practice for brands.

A study, released by Wunderman Thompson, which helps organisations identify consumer behaviours, trends, and shifts, has found that an overwhelming number of people – 86 per cent – want businesses to do their part in putting people and the planet ahead of profits.

The study included 4000 adults, 18 and older, in the US, the UK, China, and Brazil. It also found that nearly nine in 10 respondents believe sustainability should be standard practice for brands.

According to the researchers, these findings are higher than what was found in a similar study conducted in 2018.

“In the wake of the pandemic, there is a growing appetite for change—and people are looking to brands to lead the way,” according to the researchers.

“This new report, ‘Regeneration Rising: Sustainability Future,’ unpacks the signs of change pointing to a regenerative future.”

Other findings from the study include the following:

  • Ninety-four per cent say they are trying to live sustainably; however, some consumers report the number one barrier to living sustainably is cost.
  • Seventy-five per cent of women say they think about ways they can live more sustainably. Seventy per cent of men in the study say the same.
  • A similar disparity was found when asked if the respondents prefer to buy from companies or brands that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. Eighty-six percent of women say they do, a smaller number of men, 81 per cent, say they do.

“The study also brought in something not frequently analysed, and that is ‘regeneration,’” says Steve Ashkin, a leading advocate for sustainability in the cleaning industry.

“Regeneration goes beyond sustainability. It investigates steps we can take to restore and nurture ecosystems. This helps people and economies flourish.”

While about a third of those in the study said they were not familiar with the concept of regeneration, once it was explained, close to 70 percent believe it is an “inspiring idea” that deserves greater attention by people and organisations globally.

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