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Brief Published: 2 Sep 2020

Americans Support Sustainability During the Pandemic


Sustainability remains a top priority for US consumers despite pandemic preoccupations, with 85% thinking the same amount about the issue – if not more – since the onset of Covid-19 (Genomatica, 2020). We explore how brands can support consumers’ eco-consciousness in the post-Coronavirus new normal.

  • Sustainability in the Time of Covid: The July-published survey, conducted by California-based biotech company Genomatica, found that 85% of Americans think sustainability will be equally as important when the pandemic subsides. For long-term success, brands should action green initiatives that have been on the backburner during Covid-19.
  • Leveraging Low-Impact Leanings: Americans who have felt more sustainable during the pandemic attribute it to driving less (68%), buying less (54%), and flying less (37%) – habits which should be encouraged post-lockdown. See Rethinking City Mobility for transport options which balance eco concerns with Covid-compliance.
  • Green Guilt: Of consumers who have become less planet-conscious during Covid-19, 59% have not enjoyed it, along with 36% reporting they feel guilty. Making sustainable living accessible and attractive is sure to win with consumers at this time; see The Brief for Selfridges’ ethical retail push.
  • Eco vs EconDespite the Covid-caused economic upheaval (see Financial Wellness), 37% of Americans are still willing to pay more for sustainable products, rising to 43% among Gen Z (born 1996-2009).
    Nearly half (46%) of consumers living in areas hard-hit by Covid-19 say they are thinking more about sustainability. And among those experiencing job disruption, 43% say they would still pay more for sustainable products, demonstrating the enduring demand for companies to cater to sustainable consumers across incomes.
  • Work-From-Home Futures: Avoiding commuting (85%) and using less energy to regulate the temperature of offices (64%) topped the list of why 60% of US consumers find working from home (WFH) more sustainable. For more on WFH futures, see Remote Work Recalibrated in The Future Office: How & Where We’ll Work.