Actually, People Are Buying Sustainable Products

Despite longstanding claims to the contrary, according to a recent study by NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business, sales of “sustainability-marketed products” are rapidly outpacing those of traditional products. In other words: people actually are putting their money where their mouths are.

As reported by Harvard Business Review, the study found that products with a “sustainability claim on-pack accounted for 16.6% of the [Consumer Packaged Goods] market in 2018, up from 14.3% in 2013,” and equating to nearly $114 billion in sales.

The study also reviewed 36 consumer packaged goods categories and more than 71,000 SKUs, finding “that 50% of CPG growth from 2013 to 2018 came from sustainability-marketed products.”

But what’s even more striking is the growth rate: researchers found that “products marketed as sustainable grew 5.6 times faster than those that were not,” a multiple that prompted the HBR to claim that “consumers are voting with their dollars — against unsustainable brands.”

The findings are a stark repudiation of the claim that “consumers say they intend to buy sustainable products, [but] in store they don’t actually purchase them,” which has been employed by so “many brands as justification for not making their products more sustainable.”

So what does this mean for change-resistant companies? The article posits that ”legacy companies that will thrive are those that accept this shift and are willing to pivot.” Pivot away, Corporate America.

Read more at Harvard Business Review.

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