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sustainability certifications

Consumers Will Pay More Money for ‘Sustainable’ Products

sustainability certificationsCompanies can expect a healthy return on investment from environmental and socially sustainable practices and products, according to new research.

US wine consumers will are willing to pay, on average, $7 more per bottle for wine produced using “sustainable” practices, found one such study presented at a Sonoma County grapegrower seminar in Santa Rosa, California, last week.

As the North Bay Business Journal reports, 63 percent of consumers who buy $15-plus bottles of wine and drink it more than twice monthly and who know about Sonoma County wines and the county’s sustainability certification program would pay a premium of more than $5 a bottle for sustainably produced wine, according to the survey conducted by Wine Intelligence. Thirty-three percent of respondents said they would pay more than $10 more, while 40 percent would pay at least a $5 premium.

The survey considered a pool of 235 million US adults, 40 percent of which are “regular” wine consumers, consuming it at least once a month, and 16 percent frequent premium-wine drinkers.

Consumers aren’t just saying they will pay more for sustainable wine, they actually are buying certified-sustainable wines, the survey found.

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of core-consumer respondents in the Wine Intelligence survey said they would be more likely to buy certified-sustainable wine; over half these consumers (56 percent) purchased bottles labeled with such certification at least in the past month. This translates to 21 million of the 235 million US, and 27 percent did so in the past week, or 7 million, the Business Journal reports.

The sustainable wine survey follows research, released earlier this month by Unilever, that found a third of consumers (33 percent) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good.

The study, carried out in conjunction with Europanel and Flamingo, asked 20,000 adults from five countries how their sustainability concerns impact their choices in-store and at home. It then mapped their claims against real purchase decisions, which Unilever says gives a “more accurate picture than ever of what people are actually buying — and why.”

Unilever says this represents a potential untapped opportunity of $1,024 billion out of a $2.7 trillion total market for sustainable goods.

Unilever has first-hand experience with making money from making its sustainability credentials clear. It’s one of at least 10 global companies that generate a billion dollars or more in revenue annually from sustainable products or services.

Unilever, which generated sales of €53.3 billion ($56.5 billion) in 2015, reported 30 percent faster growth for its “Sustainable Living” brands, compared to the rest of its business, with these brand nearly half of the firm’s total growth in 2015. The company defines its Sustainable Living Brands as those that integrate sustainability not only into their marketing platform but also their products.


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