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136 pages of data and analysis, including charts, graphs, and illustrations!

NMI's Sustainability Consumer Trends Database® is the industry's most comprehensive tool to measure consumers' integration of personal and planetary health across their lifestyles - from food and beverage to home care to durables and lifestyle activities.

This report is the thirteenth annual U.S. report NMI has published on the state of the sustainability market. It is full of insights, data, and analysis to help you better understand the ever-evolving world of environmentally-friendly, socially conscious, and healthy products and how consumers are integrating sustainability into their lifestyle.

This year, the underlying theme of the report explores the notion of the 'return on investment' (ROI) of sustainability initiatives. Many companies have been involved and are becoming more involved in the sustainability space, taking measures to ensure they are mindful of their impact on society, the environment and local and global communities.

Some uncertainty arises for companies, however, in how to measure what type and how much of an impact, if any, these sustainable initiatives are having. In essence, are these sustainable initiatives having a positive impact on the environment or the company and how can the impact be measured? Even further, have these initiatives transformed consumer perception regarding the company and, if so, are they measurable changes? This report addresses these questions and ultimately provides background and consumer insights to begin the ROI journey.

In addition, the intent of this report is to provide a solid overview of where the current sustainable marketplace stands, in addition to...

- how consumers interact in the green marketplace
- what product benefits and attributes are driving consumers to choose sustainable over conventional products
- how segments within society view sustainability differently and what motivates this differentiation
- what are some of the barriers to being ‘green’
- what are the opportunities for future growth
- We hope you enjoy this report, and that it both grounds you in market trends as well as sparks new ideas of how you can explore opportunities and develop strategies in this thriving marketplace.

Summary Overview of the Sustainability Marketplace

- Sustainability is not a trend, it is becoming a cultural shift. All organizations, therefore, will need to realize that sustainability is not just a desired activity but a necessary strategy.
- Almost all products and services going forward will need to consider consumer motivations regarding eco-friendliness; however, impacts on personal or planetary health affect consumers at varying levels.
- The return on investment of sustainability also has an economic component both in financial savings for the company and increased brand value, increased sales, and reduced risk.
- Products or services to help consumers reduce their environmental impact (without compromising price, quality and convenience) will become more prevalent.
- Sustainability is causing 'disruptive innovation' across many industries, creating new markets above and beyond an existing one such as 'car sharing' replacing car ownership; such disruption may actually capture a new or underserved consumer in some cases.
- The sourcing and 'end life' of packaging will become significantly more relevant as the product life cycle and waste impact are increasingly becoming part of consumers' purchase decisions.
- Product packaging, especially plastic, will continue to move toward that which is compostable or bio-based so it can assimilate safely back into the supply chain.
- Technology and services to help consumers monitor energy consumption, manage food waste, among others, will continue to innovate putting more control into consumers' hands.
- Globalization will drive the need for more alignment of fair labor practices, ecosystem protection, sustainable farming, energy resourcefulness and many other practices.

U.S. LOHAS Consumer Trends Database® (LCTD) Overview


- Quantifies the size of the consumer market for environmentally and socially responsible products and services
- Measures the importance of environmental and societal issues as well as corporate social responsibility
- Explores environmentally conscious behavior
- Determines consumer usage of sustainable products and services
- Annual tracking study in U.S. since 2002 and globally since 2005


- 3,000+ U.S. adults in 2014, nationally projectable to the U.S. adult population and accurate at the 95% confidence level to +/- 1.2%
- Conducted online
- 53,000+ U.S. consumers in database
- Conducted in 23 countries; 150,000+ global consumers interviewed
- Throughout this report, compound annual growth (CAG) is calculated and shown as available and relevant
- Statistical significance at the 95% confidence level between mutually exclusive groups is indicated with capital letters

Definitions of Groups Within the Report

GP = General Population U.S. Adults 18+

Millennials – born 1977-1998 (Ages 18-37)

Gen X – born 1965-1976 (Ages 38-49)

Boomers – born 1946-1964 (Ages 50-68)

Matures – born 1900-1945 (Ages 69+)

LOHAS – a segment of consumers defined as "Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability"

LOHAS Leaders – the portion of LOHAS consumers who exhibit the highest integration into the sustainable lifestyle

LOHAS Followers – the portion of LOHAS consumers who are highly engaged in the sustainable lifestyle but show lower integration than the Leaders due to some price sensitivity and uncertainty

Sustainable Mainstream – consumers within the population that fall in the NATURALITES, DRIFTERS, or CONVENTIONAL segments who are adopting some sustainable attitudes and behaviors and feel somewhat empowered they can make a difference

Natural Channel Shopper – shopped natural food supermarket, General Nutrition Center, health and natural food store, or other nutrition store in past 3 months

Mass Shopper – shopped Mass Merchandiser (with groceries) – e.g., Walmart, Target

Child in HH – consumers who have a child 17 or under living in the household

No Child in HH – consumers who do not have a child 17 or under living in the household

CAG = Compound Annual Growth

Capital letters on slides denotes significant differences between groups

All data is sourced from NMI's LOHAS Consumer Trends Database® (LCTD) unless otherwise noted

Table Of Contents

13th annual Consumer report The State of Sustainability in America 2015: Trends and Opportunities
Definitions of Groups

U.S. LOHAS Consumer Trends Database Overview


Summary Overview of the Sustainability Marketplace

- Summary Overview
- The Impact of Sustainability on Brand Appeal
- Shades of Green in the Population
- Snapshot Sustainability Segment Overview
- Early Adoption Curve
- LOHAS Product Lifecycle Drives Mainstream Behavior
- Growth in Mainstream Attitudes and Behavior
- Impact of Sustainability on Product Decisions
- LOHAS Segment Sets the Bar
- Segment Composition across Generations
- Impact of Millennials in the Green Market
- Aligning with Millennials

Gauging the Return on Investment of Sustainability

- Sustainable Action Is a 'Must Have'
- Drivers of Corporate Engagement
- Further Drivers of Corporate Engagement
- Consumer Understanding of Sustainability
- People, Planet, Profit
- Sustainable Touchpoints: Society, Community, Environment
- Economic Component of Sustainability
- Sustainability Drives Trial, Quality Perceptions
- Does Your Brand Image Reflect Your Initiatives
- Aligning Corporate Practices
- Relationship of Brand Value and Sustainability Ratings
- Global Concern for Sustainability
- Who Is Taking the Lead in Sustainability
- Interest in Learning about Corporate Initiatives
- Ways LOHAS Segment Would Like to Learn About Initiatives
- Making Sure Your Sustainable Message is Heard
- Impact of 'Cause Support' on Purchase Intent
- Impact of Social Programs on Purchase Intent
- Awareness Levels of Corporate Campaigns
- Consumers Want Proof of Corporate Sustainability
- Good Corporate Citizenry Ratings Across Companies
- Sustainable Initiatives Help to Boost ROI

NMI Sustainability Segmentation

- LOHAS Segmentation Methodology
- Segments Varying Level of Involvement in Sustainability
- Segment Composition Shifts
- The LOHAS Consumer
- Geographic Distribution of LOHAS Consumer
- LOHAS Leaders and Followers
- LOHAS Consumer Is Driving Sustainable Purchases
- The NATURALITES Consumer
- The DRIFTERS Consumer
- How Segments Relate to the Green Market
- Top Environmental Concerns Across Segments
- Key Differences Between LOHAS and Sustainable Mainstream
- Segment Demographics

Consumers' Engagement in Sustainability

- Sustainability Has Staying Power
- Importance of a Sustainable Lifestyle
- Personal Responsibility for Environmental Protection
- Social and Political Concerns
- Environmental Concerns
- Concern about Global Warming
- Desire for Information on Environmental Protection
- Growth in Awareness of Environmental Terms
- Uncertainty Regarding Personal Environmental Impact
- Attitudes Toward Saving, Reusing and Living Sustainably
- Self Reflection and Philanthropy
- Participation in Sustainable Behaviors
- Use of Reusable Grocery Bags
- Participation in Fuel Saving and Less Wasteful Behaviors
- Materials Rated as Environmentally-Friendly
- Consumer Perception of Packaging
- Recycling Behavior
- Recycling and Energy Saving Behaviors
- Being Environmentally Aligned with Others
- Desire to Be More Environmentally Responsible

Purchase Decision Dynamics of E-Friendly Products

- Early Adoption Levels of E-Friendly Products
- Growth in Sustainable Choices
- Preference for and Purchase of Sustainable Products
- Unwillingness to Sacrifice Anything for E-Friendly Products
- Unwillingness to Sacrifice Price, Quality, Convenience
- Barriers to Use of E-Friendly Products
- Skepticism Regarding Green Labeling
- Value of 'Green' Labels
- Awareness and Understanding of Green Certifications
- Impact of Green Seals and Certifications
- Interest in Green Versions of Products
- The Pursuit of E-Friendly Products by Those Interested in Them
- The Pursuit of E-Friendly Products by General Population

Dynamics of Sustainable Products and Services

- Purchase of Natural Household Cleaning Products
- Impact of Chemicals in Cleaning/Laundry Products
- Importance Ratings of HH Cleaning Product Attributes
- Growth in Importance of HH Cleaning Product Attributes
- Importance Ratings of Laundry Product Attributes
- Importance Ratings of Personal Care Product Attributes
- Use of Natural/Organic Personal Care Products
- Impact of Chemicals in Personal Care Products
- Importance Ratings of PC Attributes by LOHAS and NATURALITES
- Use of Energy Saving Devices
- Importance Ratings of Food/Beverage Attributes
- Growth in Importance of Food and Beverage Attributes
- Importance Ratings of Food and Beverage Attributes by LOHAS and NATURALITES
- Use of Free-From Foods
- Ownership of E-Friendly Vehicles
- Use of Natural/Organic Pet Products

Planetary and Personal Health Connection

- The Connection Between a Healthy Body and Environment
- Attitudes Toward Keeping the Planet Healthy
- Methods of Maintaining Health
- Perceptions of Environmental Product Healthiness
- Impact of Pesticides, Chemicals, GMOs
- Perceived Link Between Chemicals and Childhood Disease
- Environmental and Health Impact of Pesticides and GMOs
- Impact of GMO-Labeling on Food/Beverage Purchase
- Willingness to Pay a Premium for Organic and Non-GMO Foods
- Consumer Understanding of Natural and Organic Attributes
- Consumer Understanding of Quality Attributes of Natural and Organic
- Impact of Endocrine Disruptors

Shopping and Influencers

- The Changing Concept of Shopping
- Desire to Shop at Stores Consistent with Their Values
- Influence of Family and Friends on Purchase
- Use of Peer Networks
- Influencers of E-Friendly Product Purchases
- Perceived Availability of E-Friendly Products
- Growth of Online Shopping
- Perceived E-Friendliness of Buying Products Online
- Shopping in the Natural Food Channel
- Segment Composition of Retail Shoppers

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