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Sustainability has a growing role in shopper decision making

According to the latest NielsenIQ study, 81% of South African consumers feel sustainability is more important to them than it was two years ago, with 53% saying it is because they feel that their health and/or safety could be impacted by climate change.
Sustainability has a growing role in shopper decision making

  • 81% of South African consumers feel sustainability is more important to them than it was two years ago
  • 58% only buy what they need to avoid waste
  • 86% believe that it is important for companies to act on reducing their environmental footprint
  • 86% of global respondents stated they were likely to choose a particular retailer if they offered a wider assortment of sustainable options in store

While most consumers are taking some action in their lives to live more sustainability, with one in two taking their own shopping bags, avoiding waste (58%) and minimising electricity usage (56%), consumers say that cost (45%), access (45%) and a lack of clarity (27%) stop them from adopting more sustainable lifestyles.

These findings appeared in 'The Changing Climate of Sustainability', a new global report focused on the impact of climate change on the consumer-packaged goods industry.

The study finds that two emerging drivers – the role of governance in mandating sustainability and the exploding costs of climate change on value chains – are creating an outlook of rapid change across the next 5–10 years that will force companies, manufacturers, brands, and retailers to transform and commit to real sustainable business models.

The analysis also highlighted the following specifically for South African consumers:

  • 86% of consumers say companies should be mandated to show full transparency of their supply chain so shoppers can make informed choices
  • Of those consumers that said sustainability is more important, 65% said it was because it's in the news all the time and 61% because they are seeing more pollution and waste around them.
  • 49% of consumers say living sustainably is important for society and they try to make sustainable choices when they can
  • 78% say they would stop buying products from a company that had been found guilty of greenwashing, highlighting the importance of trust and transparency not only in communications but in the whole supply chain.

NielsenIQ South Africa managing director Ged Nooy says: “Consumers around the globe are more committed to sustainability but have found it difficult to make daily decisions that support true sustainability impacts. They want help to live and consume in a sustainable way that aligns with other daily pressures and they also think that the responsibility to lead sustainability lies with retailers and manufacturers. We are now at a tipping point, where companies that have been proactive and genuine about climate action will be at a massive advantage as industries scramble to meet requirements and mandated sustainable efforts.”

“We anticipate a great deal of scrambling from companies that now realise it's crunch time. They will look for easy wins in the short-term but the gamechanger is the requirement to report and validate their footprint and gain visibility of emissions and resource use across their whole value chain. This will require a long-term shift and for many a departure from how they currently operate,“ comments Nooy.

Further information can be found in this article on 

About NielsenIQ

NielsenIQ, a global information services company, delivers the gold standard in consumer and retail measurement, through the most connected, complete, and actionable understanding of the evolving global, omnichannel consumer. NielsenIQ is the source of confidence for the industries we serve and the pioneer defining the next century of consumer and retail measurement. Our data, connected insights, and predictive analytics optimize the performance of CPG and retail companies, bringing them closer to the communities they serve and helping to power their growth.
NielsenIQ, an Advent International portfolio company, has operations in 90+ markets, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit

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