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13th annual Consumer report The State of Sustainability in America 2015: Trends & Opportunities

  • January 2015
  • -
  • Natural Marketing Institute
  • -
  • 136 pages

Summary

Table of Contents

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

Scope:

- 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

Methodology:

- 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

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