Majority of Americans are Adopting a Sustainable Lifestyle

23 September 2021 by Catherine Harris
blog author

A total of 96 percent of US consumers claim they try to behave sustainably to protect the planet, its people and resources, according to a new report.

SB Brands for Good, which forms part of Sustainable Brands, released the study for brand leaders after conducting a year of consumer research investigating behaviors of consumers surrounding brands and sustainable living.

The report, called “Driving Consumer Behavior Towards Sustainable Lifestyles: 2020-2021 Socio-Cultural Trend Report on Consumer Sustainability Intentions & Actions”, highlights where consumers expect brands to play a role and aims to understand the social issues where consumers feel change is needed most.

It also seeks to determine the actions being taken across the Nine Most Impactful Sustainable Behaviors and establishes benchmarks for consumer intentions towards adopting sustainable lifestyles.

Research carried out by SB Brands for Good shows the Nine Most Impactful Sustainable Behaviors include eating more plants, reducing water and food waste, supporting women and girls, being energy smart and going circular.

The report noted that while the biggest hurdle to taking action is the perception that it’s too expensive, consumers also confess they don’t know where to begin, which is where the brands could come in to help break down the barriers.

The most heavily adopted sustainable behaviors are those already embedded, according to the report, which enables brands to use their influences to promote sustainable lifestyles more readily.

Societal issues were also examined, noting that women were on average 8 percent less likely to engage in sustainable behaviors between Q3 2020 and Q2 2021. Reasons for the decline may include the effect Covid-19 has had on women in terms of increased household, higher job loss and childcare responsibilities.

Further studies will continue this autumn from SB Brands for Good, surveying 5,000 US consumers and measuring year-over-year changes in attitudes and behaviors around sustainability which will be released in October. International research is also planned in the UK, France and Germany in Q4, and select regions in LatAm, Asia, and Canada in Q1’22.

Catherine Harris, Head of CR and Sustainability North America atsaid:“It is remarkable and commendable to learn that the majority of consumers in the US are aware of the sustainability issues surrounding brands and lifestyles.

“While they are adapting their behavior in favour of making better choices that lessen the environmental impact, the stumbling blocks surrounding knowledge and costs are ever present. But with more consumers embracing efforts towards creating a better planet, and the brands jumping on board to iron out any creases and help them on their journey, sustainable lifestyles can be more accessible for all consumers.”

SB Brands for Good works with sustainability experts to harness brand influence and make sustainable lifestyles more attractive and attainable. Corporate partners include Procter & Gamble, Target, PepsiCo, Visa, Nestlé, CVS Health, McCormick & Company, General Mills, HP Graphic Arts, The Clorox Company, Mastercard, Logitech and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health. Contributing Partners include WeSpire, Futerra, Porter Novelli, Ipsos, Grounded. World, ANA, and The Guardian.

Catherine Harris, Head of CR and Sustainability North America: Catherine has been recruiting Senior Sustainability Executives and Non-Executives for over 9 years.  Prior to Acre, Catherine worked for a boutique search firm with a focus on the charity and public sector.

Catherine also sits on the board of Future-Fit Foundation, a non-profit offering tools to help investors and business tackle key Sustainability and climate change issues.   With a passion for board diversity and appointing exceptional leaders at board level, she is also co-author of The Social Board, a paper exploring how to engage board members on key ESG and Sustainability issues.  

Catherine completed a Master’s at Kings College London in Sustainable Tourism, Development and the Environment in 2001, with a focus on standards and benchmarking in the tourism sector.