A new era of sustainability is rising, and it’s touching every corner of the world. Consumers in markets big and small are increasingly motivated to be more environmentally conscious and are exercising their power and voice through the products they buy. But why do these shifts feel so urgent? There is mounting evidence to support that in many parts of the world, sustainability has become a life and death matter.
Health issues like asthma and typhoid have been linked to deteriorating air and water quality, and in extreme cases, decreased brain function and death. The World Health Organization estimates that 12.6 million people die from environmental health risks annually, and that environmental factors in developing countries carry roughly 25% of the disease burden. Air and water pollution are top of mind for global consumers in our recent online survey, but regional differences can be seen in what issues respondents say matter most.
In light of these concerns, consumers around the world are making adjustments in their shopping habits. While still juggling convenience, price and awareness along with their need to better the world, they’re looking for companies to step up as partners in their quest to do good.
In fact, a whopping 81% of global respondents feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment. This passion for corporate social responsibility is shared across gender lines and generations. Millennials, Gen Z and Gen X are the most supportive, but their older counterparts aren’t far behind.
Regions that are rife with emerging market consumers—many of whom are dealing with environmental hazards in their everyday lives—show higher expectations than developed markets. In search of better solutions, it’s no surprise that these consumers are more demanding of companies.
“Facing rapid urbanization and a growing disparity between classes, many people in emerging markets are experiencing the harsh reality of pollution in this post-modern industrial age,” said Regan Leggett, Executive Director, Thought Leadership and Foresight, Global Markets, Nielsen. “As a result, sustainability has become an urgent opportunity for companies to connect with consumers who are excited about change,” said Regan Leggett, Executive Director, Thought Leadership and Foresight, Global Markets, Nielsen.
Corporate responsibility and sustainability strategies may take different shapes around the world, but one thing is clear: Consumers are using their spending power to effect the change they want to see. They key to being benevolent and bankable partners in their efforts is in understanding where current sales spikes can be seen and embracing the changes that are on the horizon.
For a closer look at the trends that are driving sustainable shopping, a deep dive into specific sales indicators being seen in major markets and a roadmap for future success, check out Nielsen’s Sustainable Shoppers Buy the Change They Wish to See in the World report. You might also enjoy our recent episode of the Database podcast on sustainability.