The green agenda: Environmental concerns top priority for one in five shoppers

Percentage of customers that are influenced by sustainability is expected to more than double over the next five years

Brands that are not prioritising greener launches could see their sales tumble over the next five years, a new study has found.

Sustainability credentials are the top purchasing priorities among one in five UK consumers (18%), according to the findings, collated by the Institute of Customer Service and sponsored by Swiss insurer Zurich.

And this figure is expected to more than double over the next five years.

Researchers predict that around 55% of UK customers will be motivated by ethical concerns when they shop by 2026.

Beauty, food and clothing were among the categories most likely to fall out of favour with customers for not meeting their sustainability standards.

“Just like with the consumers themselves, there are some organisations who are early adopters and others who lag behind in their action,” said Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service.

“But I believe that now is the time for all businesses to take action.

“Those who serve their customers not only with quality and value but with sustainability built in will flourish; while those who ignore the issue are likely to lose customers and market share.

“The green agenda has moved from a nice-to-have to a core strategic issue.”

Buying barriers

Despite the growing want to buy green, one in ten shoppers said they were unable to do so due to price, reliability and quality.

But the findings also noted that some 34% of consumers are prepared to part with an average premium of 5.5% for sustainable goods.

Meanwhile, three quarters expect the brands they buy from to help them be greener, either by purchasing from them or in the choices that they make in general.

And an overwhelming majority (83%) do not believe organisations are doing enough to be environmentally-friendly.

Companies