Consumers care more about environmental issues than ever before, and they use their money to reward companies that share their values. A new study shows just how important this trend has become.

Whether you’re helping your customers develop their marketing strategies or educating them about the value of print versus digital communications, it’s important to understand the growing importance of environmental issues on the minds of consumers.

According to a new study by Nielsen and the Conference Board (“Global Consumer Confidence Survey”), 81% of consumers worldwide believe it is “extremely important” or “very important” that companies implement programs to improve the environment. It’s a bit lower in more developed markets like the United States (69%), where populations are more isolated by technology, medical care, and other modern comforts, but it’s still the overwhelming majority.

Concern is also (and unsurprisingly) highest among Gen Z, Gen Y, and Gen X consumers.

Nielsen asked about specific environmental issues, including air pollution, water pollution, packaging waste / food waste, water shortages and the use of pesticides.

The issues related to packaging waste clearly impact our industry, but what about others? They don’t, directly. What matters here is the general trend.

Nielsen Notes,

In light of these concerns, consumers around the world are changing their shopping habits. While juggling convenience, price, and awareness with their need to improve the world, they seek out companies to become partners in their pursuit of good.

If consumers care so much about the specific issues being investigated, we can extrapolate to other environmental issues, including those that impact the areas affected by PSM and PSP. These include:

  • Customer messaging
  • Mixing channels
  • Customer education on the environmental impact of the different channels
  • Educating consumers on the environmental impact of the different channels
  • Selected substrates
  • Packaging and print media design (such as weight, shape and recyclability decisions)

Of course, many others.

If environmental issues aren’t on your radar (other than your own in-house production), maybe they should be. They are definitely on the minds of your clients’ target audiences, and wherever you can help your clients take advantage of them, you should.

Nielsen concludes his post on the study with this:

Corporate responsibility and sustainability strategies can take different forms across the world, but one thing is clear: Consumers are using their purchasing power to effect the change they want to see. The key to being caring and reliable partners in their efforts is understanding where current sales spikes can be seen and embracing the changes that are on the horizon.

That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

About Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker is a former editor of a printing industry magazine and longtime industry analyst, content developer, author and blogger. She’s written for the industry’s top publications, research firms, and private companies for the past three decades – so long that she still has an AOL address, which she signed up to when AOL was still cool. You can reach her at [email protected]

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