How sustainability is fundamentally changing consumer preferences

For CPR organizations, green is the new black

As the hands of the Doomsday Clock inch towards midnight and consequences of climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, and resource scarcity become impossible to ignore, people are waking up to the urgent need for change. Together with governments, public-interest groups, investors, competitors, and employees, consumers are increasingly calling for a more sustainable, environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and economically inclusive tomorrow. But are CPR organizations heeding this call?

We wanted to find out. In the Capgemini Research Institute’s latest report, Consumer Products and Retail: How sustainability is fundamentally changing consumer preferences, we surveyed 7,500 consumers and 750 large organizations and spoke with sustainability leads from large organizations to understand how sustainability influences consumers’ purchasing patterns and how organizations are responding.

We found that consumer preferences are strongly impacted by sustainability. In fact, eight out of ten consumers are making sustainability-based purchase choices, even as the COVID-19 pandemic casts its long shadow. In response, CPR organizations are looking to make sustainability practices a strategic priority. However, consumers aren’t always aware of the environmental footprint of the products they purchase or able to act on their good intentions. Organizations, for their part are out of sync with consumer views, and unaware of the pace at which consumer preferences and loyalty are shifting. Moreover, they are also failing to scale sustainability, missing out on key benefits, including loyalty, employee churn, ESG performance, sales protection, and growth.

That’s why organizations should position technology at the core of sustainability initiatives, educate consumers and empower employees to deeply embed sustainability, build in robust governance for sustainability, and collaborate with the broader ecosystem. After all, the clock is ticking.

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Sound Bites

Elena Dimichino, Sustainability Director at Luxottica

Sustainability is a journey, but can also be seen as a mosaic. Every single project or phase of the value chain is a piece of this mosaic. And, as in any mosaic, each piece can be of different shape, size or color, but when put together with the other pieces it gives you the sustainability journey and the sustainability overview of the company.

Pia Heidenmark Cook, Chief Sustainability Officer at Ingka Group

Circular is a key enabler for us to become climate positive, because we have a climate footprint fixed in the products we sell, the materials we choose for our products, and the production and the transport of our products. The IKEA ambition to become a circular business by 2030 meaning designing all products with circular principles in mind, using renewable or recycled materials and working with customers to keep products in use for longer.

Alberto Chiappinotto, Global Climate Neutral Project Manager Industrial Operation at Electrolux

The customers want sustainability, but not always they know what it means to develop a sustainable products; here it's where we have to create culture if we want grow and move forward.

About the Capgemini Research Institute

Capgemini Research Institute

Capgemini’s #1 ranked in-house think tank on all things digital


James Robey

James is the Global Head of Corporate Sustainability at Capgemini. He manages sustainability risks and drives our program to reduce environmental impacts in our most material areas.

Marc Rietra

Expert in Architecture, Business and Technology Transformations, Commerce and Supply Chain Management, Innovation

Steve Hewett

Expert in CRM, Customer Experience Design, Digital Operating Model, Ecommerce