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The Green Gap

Are shoppers willing to spend green to go green?

Like other trends, the movement by brands to prove sustainability and show customers that they care about more than profits is the source of much skepticism.

Shouts of greenwashing from the masses. And we all have that anecdote of

‘YOU care about your environmental impact? Really?’

Judgment aside, there are a few layers of this discussion.

? Are brands really taking measures to reduce harmful impact?

? Are they doing it for good, or for attention?

? Does it matter?

? Do we - the shoppers - actually care enough to change our spending?

This last one elicits a good amount of discussion, and covered from a few different angles in the latest Sustainability Report from RetailX

What jumps off the page? →‘The green gap’

The green gap is the difference between what shoppers say they will do and what they are actually doing, in terms of how they alter their purchases when considering a brand or product’s (real or perceived) sustainability practices.

While 57% of shoppers SAY they are willing to pay more for products produced and transported in a way that didn’t harm the environment…

What they DO is … inconsistent.

Only 10% of consumers ‘always’ purchased a sustainable product even though it was more expensive or inconvenient.

Another 21% claim they did so most of the time and 36% said some of the time. A full 1/3rd of folks would never.

So, 2/3rd of shoppers report paying the green tax at some level of frequency. That’s actually more than say they are ‘willing.’

But, only a small share of shoppers are doing so consistently.

This is an important wrinkle. The green gap is not simply the difference between what they SAY and what they DO. It’s also how often they DO. Put plainly, it’s not very often.

The role of green in a brand’s go-to-customer motion is nuanced and certainly deserving of far more than a brief take. Maybe this consumer response might provide a hint as to where brands should be placing their energy, though:

“73% of consumers globally say the ecological impact of purchases needs to be clearer to shoppers.”

Makes me wonder – are we sharing too much ‘bright green’ and not enough ‘dark green?’

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