As of January of this year, an estimated 1,200 companies in the U.S. had B Corp status. A B Corp is a for-profit corporate entity that contributes positively to the community and environment through its products, services and operations. Even with the mounting increase of companies achieving B Corp status, CFOs still want confirmation that green practices and corporate responsibility will support the bottom line. Luckily, consumer studies and handy new tech tools hold good news for sustainable companies.
A 2014 global study was conducted by Nielsen surveyed consumers on their willingness to pay for products and services provided by companies’ actively practicing conscious capitalism. The study found that 55% of respondents were willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are making a positive social and environmental impact. Nearly as many consumers (52%) had made a prior sustainable product purchase in the past 6 months.
While consumer-reported past purchases and purchase intent is helpful, it may not be the best predictor of actual conversion to a product purchase. To get the rest of the story, a review of sustainable product retail sales was performed. The review showed a 2-5% increase in sales depending on the product marketing. Companies which included corporate responsibility as a part of their marketing message and on product packaging saw the most success.
More recently, consumer commitment to spending their green on green products and services can be seen in the creation and usage of complementary sustainable shopping apps. More apps are being developed and downloaded that help consumers find green products. Some examples include:
- GoodGuide— helping consumers find ethically made, green products quickly
- Fooducate— giving shoppers a product grade level for each scanned product based on its healthfulness
- Social Impact— allowing users to search socially conscious businesses near their location
The results of the Nielsen study and the growth of socially conscious consumer apps demonstrates that a growing percentage of consumers are:
- motivated to spend on sustainable products made by socially conscious companies
- willing to pay more for them
- influenced to purchase by a sustainable marketing message.
Share with others how your company is communicating your green efforts to your target market.