Cost of living crisis makes sustainability a luxury for wealthy consumers – Kantar report reveals – Retail Times

Kantar, the world’s leading marketing data and analytics company, launches today Sustainability sector index 2022a groundbreaking study identifying the ‘burning platforms’ that every industry needs to tackle, in addition to consumer attitudes and behaviors towards sustainability.

Based on 33,000 interviews around the world, and compared to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the report identifies:

– 65% of consumers want to do more to be more mindful of the planet and the environment, but their higher cost of living prevents them from doing so.

– In addition to affordability, lack of knowledge about sustainable alternatives is the main barrier that prevents people from living sustainably.

– Globally, water pollution and child labor and labor exploitation are the biggest sustainable problems that consumers believe businesses should be concerned about.

– Overpacking, waste and carbon footprint are the three most common associations for companies in different categories.

– 29% of consumers worldwide are ‘actives’, who are willing to put more time and effort into reducing their impact on the planet.

– Reducing food waste, bringing reusable bags when shopping, reducing energy in the home and recycling are the actions people are most willing to take to solve the waste problem.

– 47% of consumers say they have stopped buying a product or service because of its impact on the environment or society. This rises to 87% of active consumers.

The research shows that water pollution, child labor and labor exploitation are the top sustainable issues that consumers want companies to address globally. Water pollution is considered the biggest problem by city dwellers and people over 26 worldwide and is the number one concern for the Americas. This is followed by child labor and labor exploitation, which is most worrying for the rural population, under 25s and in Europe in general.

Figure 1.

Top Sustainability Concerns (Out of 43 Subjects – Max Diff Average Score of Concern)

Impact on cost of living

Despite the desire to become more sustainable – 97% of people are willing to take action to live more sustainably – price is currently becoming the main barrier for consumers to live sustainably. 68% of consumers believe that products that are better for the environment and society are more expensive. 65% want to do more to be more considerate of the planet and the environment, but their higher cost of living prevents them from doing so. People in America (70%) feel the most impact on their sustainable behavior because of the cost of living.

Only one in three (35%) of consumers who “struggle” with the cost of living actively look for companies and brands that offer ways to offset their environmental impact, compared to 53% of those who are financially “comfortable”. ‘ to be. Besides the price, knowing the sustainable alternatives is the second major barrier to sustainable behaviour. 57% think it is too difficult to determine which products are ethically good or bad, or for the environment.

Active versus spectators

While a third of the world’s population doubts whether they can make a difference through their choices, 29% of consumers worldwide are among the most active when it comes to sustainability. Europe has the highest percentage of ‘active’ shoppers, who are much more likely to believe they can make a real difference through their actions and believe they are personally affected by social and environmental issues.

Brand owners should focus on waste reduction and leadership in decarbonisation

Designed to help brands develop ‘sword and shield’ strategies to address consumers’ sustainable concerns, the research shows that consumers identify different social and environmental issues in different sectors and expect companies to address these issues. tackle. Eliminating waste is at the top of people’s agendas for brands around the world. Consumers expect companies in 24 of the 38 indicated sectors to tackle overpackaging, non-recyclable packaging and landfills, overconsumption and waste. Waste and circularity are important topics for most sectors including food, beverage, retail, home care, technology, travel, luxury, furniture, fashion, personal care and others.

Decarbonization is second to none in people’s minds. According to consumers, companies in 15 of the 38 sectors have a high association with carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming, including companies active in travel, electronics, motor vehicles, luxury, oil and gas, in-home entertainment, telecom service providers and others.

Figure 2. Consumer expectations of companies to lead to carbon neutrality

Commenting on the findings, Karine Trinquetel, sustainability expert, global head of Kantar’s sustainability transformation practice offering said: “Despite all the other crises happening around the world, the desire to become sustainable has not been eroded. However, sustainability products too often have a high price, and that stands in the way of mass acceptance. This occurs even among the most engaged consumers, of whom 77% believe sustainable products are more expensive and that the price prevents them from doing more for the planet. As a result, sustainability is all too often the luxury of the wealthy in society – and companies miss out on this huge commercial opportunity. To realize the mainstream opportunity, brands need to scale up and go to market at a price the mass market can afford. Beyond price, brands need to recognize that consumers have an advanced understanding of where brands should focus in each industry, and develop sustainability strategies that address these concerns. “

The Sustainable Sector Index will be further explored during the free webinar on Tuesday 13 September. The full report can be found at

Leave a Reply