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Brief Published: 17 Jan 2017

Purpose-Led Purchasing: Global Attitudes to Sustainability

A third of global consumers are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact

An international report by Unilever has revealed that a third of global consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. The study surveyed 20,000 adults from five countries on how their sustainability concerns impact their choices in-store and at home, and mapped their claims against real purchase decisions. Highlights include:

  • Differing Attitudes: The trend for purpose-led purchasing is greater among consumers in emerging economies than in developed markets. While 53% of shoppers in the UK and 78% in the US say they feel better when they buy products that are sustainably produced, that number rises to 88% in India and 85% in both Brazil and Turkey.
  • Direct Effect: The study identifies two probable reasons for consumers’ greater focus on sustainable purchasing in emerging economies compared to developed markets. First is direct exposure to the negative impact of unsustainable business practices, such as water and energy shortages, food poverty and poor air quality.
  • Under Pressure: Second is the power of social norms. While Brazilian, Indian and Turkish consumers feel pressure from their family, friends and even their children to buy greener, more socially responsible products, this sense of social scrutiny is currently less prevalent in the UK and US.

For more on how going green is becoming a brand imperative, see our Sustainable Futures Update.