Sustainability Report 2022: What Sustainability Means to Consumers
As the reality of climate change becomes more pronounced in our everyday lives, consumers are holding institutions more accountable—including corporations. More of the public today understands the threat that climate change poses for billions of people. While many are taking small, individual actions to help protect the environment, attention is increasingly directed toward corporations and consumer-facing brands. This is the introductory report in Morning Consult’s “What Sustainability Means to Consumers” project, providing a brand’s guide to consumer attitudes, behaviors and expectations and covering the topics of sustainability, consumer sentiment and brand action from a 30,000-foot view.
- Sustainability knowledge doesn’t equal understanding: U.S. adults are broadly familiar with common sustainability concepts like “energy conservation” and “renewable resources,” but a gap exists between familiarity and being able to demonstrate understanding of certain topics, such as identifying a renewable resource or knowing what ESG stands for.
- Individuals give themselves relatively high marks for sustainability: Members of the public graded their sustainability efforts as better than others in their community, corporations and the government, even as a majority admit their individual actions have a “minor” impact.
- Sustainability is most important for industries that are part of everyday life: Consumers were most likely to say the auto industry has done the most harm toward climate change, while tech has done the most good. Respondents also gave food & beverage the No. 2 spot among industries for which sustainability is most important.
The analysis behind this report is drawn from two surveys fielded June 24-28, 2022, and July 5-7, 2022, among representative samples of roughly 2,200 U.S. adults each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.
About the authors
Joanna Piacenza leads Industry Analysis at Morning Consult. Prior to joining Morning Consult, she was an editor at the Public Religion Research Institute, conducting research at the intersection of religion, culture and public policy. Joanna graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications and holds a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].
Amy He is deputy head of Industry Analysis. Her team identifies trends across retail, media, technology, sports and brand reputation. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Amy served as the executive editor of newsletters at Insider Intelligence (formerly known as eMarketer), and was a China reporter for many years. She graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and East Asian studies. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].
Nicki Zink is deputy head of Industry Analysis. Her team identifies trends affecting key demographics across food & beverage, travel & hospitality and financial services. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Nicki served as the head of digital intelligence at Purple Strategies, a corporate reputation and strategy firm. She graduated from Miami University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].