Today we announced today results of our ‘Green Response’ research project, which focuses on sustainability and the impact COVID-19 has had on individuals’ behaviors toward living sustainably and making environmentally conscious decisions. The survey was conducted on Essity’s behalf by Prime and United Minds with 10,000 respondents across 10 countries, including 1,000 U.S. respondents, between July 1-13, 2021.
The purpose of the multi-market survey was to understand the impact that COVID-19 has had on sustainability behaviors, and to identify what barriers are preventing people from living more sustainably. As America Recycles Day approaches on November 15, understanding consumers’ attitudes toward sustainability is even more relevant. The survey’s key findings include:
Sustainable behaviors have increased
40% of respondents said they have lived a more environmentally friendly lifestyle since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Respondents spend an average of 48 minutes each week doing something that benefits the environment.
Among those who have become more environmentally friendly, 84% said they will continue their enhanced ‘greener’ living once COVID-19 restrictions ease.
Ways respondents are leading more of an environmentally friendly lifestyle
57% of respondents recycled more; 48% of respondents have driven/flown less; 46% of respondents reduced food waste; 41% of respondents cycled or walked more.
Females are more likely to have purchased products with environmentally friendly packaging than males (36% versus 27%).
Optimism about individual environmental action varies across generations
Younger respondents (aged 18-25) are more likely than older respondents (aged 41-60) to describe themselves as optimistic that the actions they take as an individual can have a positive impact on the environment and ultimately help slow down global warming. The younger group was comprised of 66% self-proclaimed optimists and 6% pessimists versus 55% and 12% in the older group.
Consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by a company’s or organization’s environmental practices
Approximately 41% of respondents said that an environmentally friendly endorsement, seal of approval or certification is important to them, and directly affects their purchase decision.
When asked how important environmentally friendly practices are for choosing to visit the following facilities, respondents said:
Healthcare facility – 59% find it somewhat or very important
Restaurants – 53% find it somewhat or very important
Retail outlet/store – 49% find it somewhat or very important
Hotels – 48% find it somewhat or very important
Theater – 44% find it somewhat or very important
Stadiums – 43% find it somewhat or very important
Museums – 43% find it somewhat or very important
Fitness Centers – 40% find it somewhat or very important
- 40% said a company’s environmental practices affect their decision on whether to work for the company or not. An additional 21% said it was quite important but wouldn’t affect their decision.
“This data highlights two important themes - first, that an unexpected outcome of pandemic life is an increase in awareness of and participation in sustainable living,” said Amy Bellcourt, Vice President Communications, Professional Hygiene, Essity North America. “And second, these findings reinforce that it makes good business sense for hospitality, retail, tourist and healthcare facilities to ensure that they are engaging in sustainable practices, as their customers, guests and visitors are paying attention.” “As a company that makes its hygiene products using sustainable practices, Essity is encouraged that consumers see the value in that commitment to the environment,” Bellcourt added.
Essity’s own sustainability commitments
Essity’s sustainable products, packaging, and operational and process innovations help shape a more sustainable future for the company, as well as the industries and customers they serve. Essity is a United Nations partner supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and has been included in a number of sustainability indexes and has received prestigious recognition, such as earning a coveted spot on Corporate Knights’ 2021 list of the 100 most sustainable companies in the world, and inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Europe Index for 2020 in the Household Products category. For more information, please visit: https://www.essityusa.com/sustainability/