First Insight’s Greg Petro on Why Brands Should Listen to Consumers’ Sustainability Beliefs

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Consumers’ sustainability demands and what companies think they want are two very different things.

During a one-on-one conversation at Sourcing Journal’s Sustainability Summit: The Road to 2030 Wednesday, Greg Petro, CEO and founder of First Insight, discussed “The Sustainability Disconnect” between consumers and companies. Citing First Insight’s consumer research, Petro noted that 100 percent of executives believe shoppers expect them to be more sustainable. But consumers’ sustainability expectations are actually behind brands’ assessment, with just 59 percent of consumers expecting brands to be more sustainable.

“[Consumers] are very, very savvy,” Petro said. “They’re very, very educated. And they’re very, very realistic in their expectations.”

This realism makes consumers skeptical about claims like carbon neutrality, which seem unattainable to them and can lead to accusations of greenwashing. Meanwhile, research has also indicated shoppers think brands are undergoing more sustainability initiatives and actions than they are actually mentioning. “Most retailers are afraid to take credit for certain things because they may get called out,” Petro said.

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consumer behavior  sustainability  retail sustainability