Consumers around the world have adapted to social distancing measures and lockdowns over the last 12 months, with the way they dress, work and shop changing dramatically. The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol recently surveyed sustainability decision-makers at 1,000 brands and retailers in the United States and United Kingdom to determine the impact the pandemic has had on the importance of and investment in sustainability initiatives. As brands and retailers look to the future, there is a sense of optimism for increased consumer spending and investment in environmentally friendly practices, with 28 percent of brands and retailers committed to setting new industry standards for sustainability.
The Trust Protocol’s research findings reveal that 69 percent of brands and retailers believe that the pandemic has emphasized the importance of environmentally friendly products to customers, with 61 percent noting that there has been an increased demand for sustainable products.
The research also found that 63 percent of brands and retailers stated that the pandemic has had a positive impact on their company’s proactive investment in sustainability with the following main areas of focus:
- Sourcing sustainably produced raw materials (42 percent)
- Manufacturing sustainability and reducing impacts of chemicals, water and energy (42 percent)
- Safe working environments (40 percent)
As the vaccine roll-out picks up pace across the world, consumers are beginning to think about the ‘new normal’, with half (50 percent) of brands and retailers expecting to see an increase in customer spending on sustainable apparel over the next 12 months.
As work continues towards delivering more sustainable options to meet growing consumer demand, findings show two thirds (65 percent) of brands and retailers agree that data is important to their future sustainability goals.