The Eco-Conscious Customer: What Companies Should Know


Environmental sustainability has been at the forefront of many discussions in recent years, and a lot of these discussions revolve around the role that companies play in promoting green practices. With more consumers putting a premium on sustainability and living a lifestyle that minimizes their impact on the planet, companies and manufacturers must now make a concerted effort to meet the demands of an environmentally aware client base. Many businesses have already started to launch such initiatives, as seen in the introduction of products like plant-based detergents, all-natural personal care products, and ethically sourced apparel. 

All in all, fully committing to sustainability entails a multifaceted approach that truly considers the needs of the target market. In this article, let’s discuss key facts about eco-conscious consumerism and how retailers, manufacturers, and other stakeholders can engage their markets while contributing to a more sustainable industry landscape at the same time.

Consumers Are Becoming More Discerning about Plastics and Chemicals

When it comes to gauging the environmental impact of the products they buy, today’s eco-conscious consumers look into the use of plastics and chemicals during the manufacturing process. Recent studies have shown that most consumers are aware of chemical companies’ role in producing these plastic products, which are known to be major pollutants in the world’s oceans and landfills. 

Many of today’s consumers have started veering toward sustainably sourced products, and an eco-conscious customer will likely buy an item developed by an ingredient manufacturer that adheres to green practices. To avoid being left behind, companies must consider using more reusable or biodegradable materials for their products and looking for sustainable alternatives to the harsh, synthetic, and resource-heavy chemicals they may have used before. Such efforts may look like implementing plastic recycling technologies, utilizing paper-based packaging, and eliminating microplastics and other harmful substances from product formulations. 

Overall, it’s quite evident that consumers are mostly cognizant of the environmental agency that big industries have. The eco-conscious market has no problem about delving deep into companies’ sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution practices, as well as being vocal about why or why they won’t support a product.  

Younger Generations Tend to Be More Eco-Conscious

Considering that millennials and Gen Z tend to have more progressive beliefs than their predecessors, it’s not surprising that these generations widely recognize the value of eco-friendliness. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) recent Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey notes that millennials lean strongly toward eco-friendly behaviors, with 58 percent of respondents aged 27 to 32 years old reporting that they have become more eco-conscious. Younger millennials aged 23 to 26 also cite a willingness to factor in sustainability when buying products. 

Gen Z, on the other hand, tends to be more aspirational about such ideals and abides by eco-conscious practices less religiously. However, the researchers from PwC’s survey note that this could be because of perceived notions about the high cost of living sustainably. All in all, that doesn’t take away from the fact that eco-friendliness is a key priority for consumers that belong to younger age groups.

Consumers Still Value Quality, Safety, and Efficacy


Even with these pervasive beliefs on sustainability, consumers still value products that are safe and effective. According to the same PwC survey cited above, consumers will ultimately decide based on products’ effects on their bodies over the eco-friendliness of such items. The survey cites examples such as the consumption of face masks at the height of the pandemic, wherein a large portion of global consumers reported that health and safety concerns trumped their need for eco-friendly personal protection options. Such a trend is reflected in the world’s heightened use of disposable items and single-use plastics such as face masks, gloves, and disinfectant wipes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Similarly, consumers also tend to value product quality above all. A study done by Accenture found that 89 percent of respondents said they cared about a product’s quality the most, followed by price, safety, and environmental impact, respectively. While it would be ideal to produce goods that have a minimal impact on the planet, companies still need to strike a balance between achieving eco-friendliness and releasing products that consumers believe are worth their money.

Affordability Is Also a Top Concern for More Eco-Conscious Customers

Product affordability may also play a role in hindering consumers from buying eco-friendly products, even if they’re inclined to support green alternatives. PwC’s research notes that 44 percent of respondents believe that sustainable products are too expensive, while others cite the lack of quality, availability, and convenience as their reasons for forgoing eco-friendly alternatives. 

National economies can contribute to the decline of eco-conscious purchasing, too. According to Deloitte’s Global State of the Consumer Tracker, such a decline is more evident in countries with high inflation, including Poland, Spain, and the Netherlands. That said, several things factor into this slight increase in pricing for eco-friendly products. Chemicals such as pesticides, preservatives, and other synthetic compounds are a lot cheaper to source for mass production, making them a viable resource for many companies. There’s also the cost of labor, which could be higher for eco-friendly products considering the additional processes associated with sourcing and testing. Sustainable companies also tend to abide by ethical practices, which include paying a livable wage to employees.

While it’s understandable that financially constrained consumers may opt for cheaper yet less eco-friendly options, it’s still worth paying extra for goods that are both high-quality and sustainable. Companies are enjoined find sustainable solutions that lower the burden on consumers and make them even more inclined towards buying green products, for example novel manufacturing techniques and efforts to gain government support.

Consumers Are Inherently Interested in Sustainability

All the practical considerations aside, there’s pretty much one thing that companies need to remember: consumers are generally curious about living sustainably and are open to changing their lifestyles if they can see the benefits. Today’s consumers are more than happy to buy products from eco-friendly businesses if safe, high-quality, and affordable options are made available to them, and they are just as likely to make the switch if ethical violations surface. Consumers nowadays also value transparency, and they prefer brands that are honest about the steps they take to achieve environmental goals.

Final Words

The market for sustainable products continues to grow, along with an increased demand for sustainable and high-quality goods. The key to keeping up with these demands is for a company to be authentic in its efforts to exemplify environmental consciousness, from the use of renewable energy and natural ingredients to the adherence to fair labor practices. The challenge now is for companies to meet these parameters and encourage even more consumers to take part in practices that protect the planet.

Scroll to Top