“There’s nowhere for brands to hide now.” That’s the stark message which kicks off Sustainable Packaging Unwrapped — a recent GlobalWebIndex study which takes an in-depth look at both consumer perceptions and behaviours regarding sustainable packaging.
The thrust of the report’s argument is that sustainable packaging is no longer a “nice-to-have”, but rather a “must-have”, with consumers increasingly scrutinising brands and demanding change.
In this post, we dig deep into the details. We’ll be highlighting the stats you need to know, covering the all-important opportunities for brands, and explaining how Tembo Paper can help you meet (and exceed) consumer expectations where sustainable straws are concerned.
Shifting Consumer Attitudes: The Stats You Need to Know
As the report itself states, the trend towards sustainability isn’t a new one. The contemporary environmental movement has been driving change for quite some time, while celebrities and online influencers have helped shift attitudes and inspire activism.
But perhaps the most significant difference we’re seeing is that consumers aren’t merely paying lip-service to becoming more environmentally-conscious — they’re actively putting their money where their mouth is.
This has resulted in some encouraging stats and insights:
- 73% of U.S. consumers and 82% of UK consumers who care about sustainability choose “greener” packaging because they’re concerned about the future of the environment.
- 53% have reduced the amount of plastic they use in the past 12 months, while 42% claim that recycled/sustainable materials are important in their day-to-day shopping.
- Younger people (16-24) now see sustainable materials as a more important consideration than affordability. The opposite is true for older people (55-64), where affordability ranks higher.
- Meanwhile, the number of consumers who say they’d pay more for eco-friendly products has risen from 49% in 2011 to 57% in 2018.
These positive changes have largely occurred in lockstep with the age of social media, something the report also highlights. Given that the next generation of consumers has grown up with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — sharing and reacting to viral stories (such as the sea turtle with the plastic straw in its nose) — it makes sense that they’re leading the charge.
Social media continues to shape discourse and allows consumers a platform from which to hold brands accountable for their environmental efforts (or lack thereof). This chimes with what we’ve seen first-hand as we track plastic straw bans and boycotts around the globe, many of which have resulted as a direct response to consumer pressure.
And yet, despite their efforts, some consumers remain frustrated. 28% claim that they don’t have sufficient info about which packaging can be recycled from the products they buy.
Could this offer a point of difference for forward-thinking brands? We think so.