Two-Thirds of Americans Willing to Pay More For Sustainable Products

Mar 23, 2021 | Insight

Image: Norma Mortenson via Pexels

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are willing to pay more for sustainable products but most don’t know how to identify them.

Americans are seeking out and are willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly products, according to a new study from GreenPrint, an environmental technology company. The first-ever edition of the company’s Business of Sustainability Index found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans are willing to pay more for sustainable products but most (74%) don’t know how to identify them. According to the findings, 78% of people are more likely to purchase a product that is clearly labeled as environmentally friendly.

The study also found a large degree of mistrust about companies’ environmental claims. A majority of people have doubts when companies say they are environmentally friendly, with 53% of Americans never or only sometimes believing such claims. To trust a company statement, 45% of Americans say they need a third-party validating source.

“Businesses are in a bind. Broadcasting sustainability would capture an untapped consumer base but also sow distrust,” said Pete Davis, CEO and Co-Founder of GreenPrint. “We’d suggest they follow the data. Third-party validation helps certify progress in the eyes of consumers, and the process of carbon offsetting – which is easy to measure and communicate – helps create tangible benchmarks. Both are good tools for building trust. It’s about exploring your trustworthy methods of communication, then selecting one that aligns with your objectives.”

Other key findings

  • 75% of Millennials are willing to pay more for an environmentally sustainable product, compared to 63% of Gen Z, 64% of Gen X, and 57% of Boomers.
  • 77% of Americans are concerned about the environmental impact of products they buy.
  • More than half (56%) of Americans would use a credit card that could calculate and offset the environmental footprint of products purchased.
    • There’s a noticeable break between generations, with 71% and 66% of Millennials and Gen Z willing to do so, compared to only 50% Gen X, 46% of Boomers and 39% Silent Generation.
  • 76% of Americans would switch their preferred packaged goods brand if they were offsetting carbon emissions. 74% would switch gasoline brands in the same situation.
  • Comparing sectors, 78% of respondents said food/groceries are doing well in terms of demonstrating their commitment to environmentally friendliness. Tech is close behind at 74%, while gas stations and convenience stores rank lower at 51% and 54% respectively.
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