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Insight of the Day: Where Do U.S. Consumers Stand on Ethical Consumption?


  • Self-Perception of Ethical Consumption: Only 45% of U.S. adults consider themselves ethical and sustainable consumers, while 26% do not, and 30% are unsure.

  • Important Aspects of Sustainability:

  • Environmentally Friendly Packaging: 46% of respondents consider this important.

  • Animal Welfare: 46% also prioritize this aspect.

Key Takeaway

A significant portion of U.S. consumers are uncertain about their ethical consumption habits, and only a minority confidently identify as ethical consumers. The most important factors for those who do prioritize sustainability are environmentally friendly packaging and animal welfare.


  • Regional Variations: Compared to other countries, U.S. consumers are less likely to identify as ethical consumers. For example, 62% of Brazilian consumers and 84% of Chinese consumers consider themselves sustainable shoppers, whereas the U.K., France, and Germany have similar percentages to the U.S. (45-48%).


  • Ethical Awareness: There is a substantial need for increased awareness and education on ethical consumption in the U.S.

  • Market Opportunity: Brands have an opportunity to address this gap by promoting sustainable practices and educating consumers on the benefits and importance of ethical consumption.

Implications for Brands

  1. Product Transparency: Brands should emphasize and clearly communicate their use of environmentally friendly packaging and humane animal treatment in their products.

  2. Consumer Education: Develop campaigns to educate consumers on the impact of their purchasing decisions and how to make more sustainable choices.

  3. Targeted Marketing: Focus marketing efforts on aspects of sustainability that resonate most with consumers, such as packaging and animal welfare, to align with their values and increase engagement.

  4. Global Benchmarking: Learn from markets like Brazil and China, where consumer awareness and identification with sustainable practices are higher, to implement successful strategies in the U.S.

By addressing these aspects, brands can not only improve their sustainability credentials but also better align with the growing consumer demand for ethical products, thereby enhancing their market position and customer loyalty.

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