10 key takeaways on American attitudes towards sustainability in 2024
May 30th, 2024, Janice Fernandes

10 key takeaways on American attitudes towards sustainability in 2024

As World Environment Day approaches, YouGov data offers valuable insights into consumer attitudes and behaviors regarding sustainability in the US. The data indicates a complex picture, revealing both a growing commitment to eco-friendly practices and significant challenges that consumers feel need to be addressed.

1. 27% of Americans are willing to invest more in products that favor sustainability

A quarter of Americans (27%), identifying as 'Planet Protectors,' show a strong commitment to environmental issues. This group is willing to spend more on sustainable products, driven by their dedication to environmental health.

2. 19% of Americans value sustainability but are heavily influenced by product pricing

The 'Price Point Green' group, comprising 19% of the population, values sustainability but is significantly influenced by product pricing. Additionally, the perception that eco-friendly products are more expensive, held by 73% of consumers, explains why sustainable shopping has not yet become a majority choice.

3. 12% of Americans are ‘green when keen’

The 'Green When Keen' segment, though smaller at 12%, adopts a more casual approach to eco-consciousness. They support sustainability when it is convenient or aligns with their lifestyle, indicating a growing, albeit partial, integration of eco-consciousness into daily life.

4. 19% of Americans are unconcerned about sustainability initiatives

One in five Americans, labeled as ‘On the Green Fence’, show little concern for climate change or sustainability initiatives (19%). This group presents a challenge to businesses and policymakers striving to expand the appeal of sustainable practices.

5. 32% of US consumers only somewhat trust sustainability logos

Trust in sustainability logos is relatively low among US consumers. Only 5% of Americans say they completely trust a product’s sustainability logo, the lowest trust level in a 17-market survey. Moreover, roughly 19% of consumers do not trust these logos at all, highlighting skepticism towards eco-labels.

6. 53% of American consumers are willing to pay up to 10% more for sustainable packaged foods and drinks

Americans are willing to pay more for sustainability, but with some caveats. Roughly half of all consumers say they'd pay up to 10% extra for meats and fresh produce (49%) and 26% are willing to pay up to 25% more.

This willingness to pay a ‘green’ premium extends to other areas as well. Products like sustainable fitness equipment, gaming consoles and cars are not far behind with more than two-fifths of Americans saying they are willing to pay up to 10% more for these products (45%, 46%, and 47% respectively). Interestingly, younger generations seem more open to paying a premium for eco-friendly products.

7. 44% of Americans plan on utilizing reusable bags, containers, and water bottles 

Many Americans are planning to adopt more sustainable practices in the next 12 months. For instance, roughly two-fifths of Americans (39%) say they aim to minimize food waste in their households. Additionally, 30% plan to conserve water, and 28% show a strong interest in reducing single-use plastic consumption. Other habits include choosing sustainable products (23%) and composting organic waste (16%).

Read more about the top eco-conscious habits American households will undertake in 2024

8. Industry efforts in minimizing environment impact

Americans generally believe industries are not doing enough to minimize their environmental impact. Only 17% think financial service providers are making sufficient efforts, compared to 38% who disagree. Similar sentiments apply to banks (20% vs. 36%), tech companies (18% vs. 45%), hospitals and health services (25% vs. 34%). The airline industry faces the most criticism, with 49% saying they are not doing enough to address environmental concerns.

9. Tesla emerges as a clear frontrunner in the quest for sustainable transportation

Tesla garners significant recognition, with 24% of Planet Protectors and 23% of all US adults viewing it as a leader in environmental efforts. Over a fifth (22%) of Planet Protectors recognize Toyota's efforts. And while this figure drops to 16% among all US adults, Toyota still ranks second among all other car brands. Other car brands recognized for their sustainability efforts include Honda, Ford, and Chevrolet.

10. 80% of travelers express an interest in discounts or loyalty points for making eco-friendly travel choices

A recent YouGov survey reveals substantial interest in eco-friendly travel incentives. More than two-thirds of US travelers (69%) say that environmental practices are important when choosing travel options. Younger travelers, especially those aged 18-34, show greater enthusiasm, with 85% considering sustainability important compared to 59% of those aged 55 and over.

Read more to know which types of personalized sustainable travel recommendations would travelers value most from a travel provider.

Explore our living data – for free

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 26 million+ members.Speak with us today

Image: Getty Images