The Database: What Sustainability Means Today
There’s no denying the fact that consumers around the world are paying more attention to the impact of their decisions on the world around them. And the more attention they pay to sustainability, the more companies have to as well.
But an important consideration for businesses looking to do good is that sustainability has no defined boundaries. Not too long ago, many of us viewed sustainability primarily through a food and agricultural lens. Today, however, the term has a much broader scope, ranging across industries, categories, demographics and industries. But regardless of whether we’re talking about responsibly sourced foods, recycled paper products for mailable packages, or products without artificial ingredients, sustainability is a hot commodity among consumers, and they’re actively embracing it in all aspects of their lives.
In a recent Nielsen global survey, a whopping 81% of respondents said that it’s extremely or very important that companies implement programs to improve the environment. When it comes to action, 73% said they would either definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment. And we see the impact of these sentiments at the register:
- In the year ended July 2018, organic product sales grew in nearly every U.S. fast-moving consumer goods outlet.
- Sales of products with “grass-fed” and “free range” claims grew 24% and 22%, respectively, in the year ended March 2018.
- Clean label products in the beauty care category account for just over one-third of dollar sales in the U.S.
- Sustainable products in the U.S. chocolate category experienced 16% sales growth in the year ended March 2018.
So does sustainability know no boundaries? And what happens when sustainability in a category becomes the norm rather than a competitive advantage?
On this episode, we talk about the broadening scope of sustainability, the influence that consumers are having across the sustainability landscape, as well as how companies can deliver on consumer needs while staying focused on sustainability at the corporate level.
Our guests on this episode are Crystal Barnes, Nielsen's SVP of Global Responsibility & Sustainability and Executive Director of the Nielsen Foundation, Kendra Peavy, VP of Global Communications at S’well, Sarah Schmansky, VP in Nielsen’s Growth & Strategy Team, Tuesday Hagiwara, a Director on Nielsen’s communications team, and Julia Wilson, Director of Global Responsibility and Sustainability at Nielsen.