Sustainability is fundamentally changing consumer preferences, but there still remains a significant gap between perception and practice
Is there a high price to pay for sustainability? There may be a higher price to pay for organisations that do not support a growing focus on the subject, especially when it comes to environmental issues and the future of planet Earth.
Growing concerns about environmental challenges have been put in the spotlight during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a global health crisis is obviously not the solution. Still, it has given us time to reflect on the impact of our activities on our planet – including the way we do business. Whether this is the need for conservation of natural resources or greater expectations around societal issues, the past 18 months have brought sustainability into the mainstream for consumers and organisations.
It’s generally cheaper to buy a product that has a worse impact on its environment than the equivalent product that does less harm. But can we really put a price on safeguarding our future? As highlighted by Havard Business Review in a special sustainability paper, it is effectively “putting a price on the priceless”.
Intelligence from the Capgemini Research Institute, the in-house think tank on all things digital for the consulting, digital transformation, technology and engineering services provider, has highlighted that sustainability impacts consumers purchase preferences and ultimately makes them happy.
Approaching two-thirds (64%) of consumer respondents to its Sustainability in Consumer Products and Retail Survey last year said buying sustainable products made them feel happy when shopping, more than half (52%) consumers felt an emotional connection with a product or organisation which is sustainable, while four in five (79%) consumers were changing purchase preference based on the social or environmental impact of their purchases.
There is a common misconception that putting resources into sustainability comes at a cost. Various studies from the World Economic Forum, among others, have already indicated a positive connection between eco-innovation and increased financial and other performance.
The Capgemini research also highlighted clear benefits for organisations to have a stronger sustainability focus with significant customer-facing and financial benefits derived from such an outlook, the research found. More than three quarters (77%) of executives said their sustainability approaches increased customer loyalty, over two thirds (69%) pointed to an increase in brand value, and (68%) an improvement in environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings, while a similar level (63%) of organizations also said that sustainability initiatives helped boost revenues.
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