Consumers Want More Action on Sustainability

Consumers Want More Action on Sustainability

The 2022 Retail and Sustainability Survey from global business applications firm CGS illustrates the demand for sustainability, even at the cost of losing expedited shipping times.

Sustainability took a back seat during the height of the pandemic in 2020, but is now in the driver’s seat as a key ideal that consumers want their favorite brands to embrace, finds the 2022 Retail and Sustainability Survey from global business applications firm CGS. In fact, nearly half of respondents (42%) indicate they prefer sustainability over expedited shipping, saying they would choose to wait longer to receive goods from online suppliers more sustainably (see chart).

During the past three years, the report—which surveys 1,000 consumers ages 18-65—has shown an up-and-down pattern when it comes to the overall importance of sustainability in retail supply chains:

  • In 2019, 70% of CGS survey respondents said that sustainability was "somewhat important" to them when purchasing apparel/footwear products.
  • In 2020, that number dipped to 51%.
  • In the 2022 survey, interest resurfaced to pre-pandemic levels: 79% of respondents believe that sustainability is "somewhat important" to "very important."

Other key takeaways from the survey:

Americans are being more intentional about shopping sustainably: Despite inflation rates and global events, 68% of respondents are in favor of paying more for sustainable apparel, and 18% are willing to pay up to 25% more.

Consumers believe more steps can be taken on sustainability: Only slightly more than one-third (34%) of respondents say brands offer enough transparency into their sustainability practices. When asked what environmental and social commitments brands should prioritize the most, 32% of respondents cite ethical labor practices.

There’s a generational difference in beliefs: A majority of Gen Z (60%) and millennials (59%) would support a national/global law mandating sustainable practices, while only 37% of baby boomers are in support of such a law.

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