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Consumers Want Just One Thing
If consumers could have it their way, there would be a single sustainability score on the front of every product package. The score would be standardized, based on between 3 and 12 factors, and determined by a group of independent experts. That’s what a cross section of US shoppers told Mambo Sprouts and Ryan Partnership in a recent national survey.

90% of Americans---regardless of how green they are---support a numerically-based sustainability rating system. They prefer numbers to symbols, words, or colors because they are quicker and easier to understand. 80% of consumers say a product’s sustainability score would influence their purchase decision.

Consumers have differing views on how sustainability scores should be calculated. The least green want ratings based on three simple factors: quality, healthiness, and environmental friendliness. The most eco-involved people think they should weigh a dozen factors, including cruelty-free/no animal testing and locally sourced. All groups understand that measuring sustainability is complex, so they would like an easy way to find more information about product scores online.

The vast majority of shoppers want an independent third party, rather than a manufacturers’ or retailers’ group, to create and execute the green scoring system.

What would it take for CPG companies to give consumers what they want?

We should think about...
  • Should we actively encourage our industry/category to develop a sustainability scoring system?
  • How can we make it easier for consumers to evaluate our products’ sustainability?
Sources: 2011; Mambo Sprouts/Ryan Partnership 2011; Packaging Digest 2011
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