WHEN DOES SUSTAINABILITY MATTER
Global concern for environmental change is high,
with 86% of consumers saying sustainability concerns
are very real and require a change in our behaviors.
Concern for the environment translates into action as
95% of consumers engage in sustainable practices and
purchasing behaviors, such as recycling and seeking
out sustainable food, appliances, and clothing.
Brands can stand out by connecting with consumers’
desire to “do the right thing” through protecting the
environment with natural product offerings.
• Consumers regularly engage in sustainable practices that
are convenient, including their purchase behavior. Brands
who can connect with consumers’ interest in natural
products can set themselves apart while still meeting
traditional purchase drivers.
• Marketers may promote cotton products in line with
consumer motivations to “do the right thing” or “live a
• Consumers trust brands to produce sustainable clothing and
see natural ﬁbers as the clearest sign of an item’s sustainability.
TOP ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN
MOTIVATION FOR SUSTAINABLE ACTIONS
To protect the world
for my children/
Simply because it is
the right thing to do
To live a more
COMMON SUSTAINABLE ACTIONS
86% Recycle cans, bottles, paper, etc.
83% Purchase appliances that conserve energy
80% Use reﬁllable water bottle
80% Use my own bags while shopping
Concern for sustainability inﬂuences over three-quarters of consumers when they shop for food and household appliances,
and 61% say it inﬂuences their clothing purchases. Consumers connect the ideas of sustainability and naturalness, particularly
when it comes to clothing, seeking items made of natural ﬁbers. Brand trust and image inﬂuence consumers’ sustainable
clothing choices and 66% say they blame manufacturers, brands, or stores when clothing is not sustainably produced.
*excludes U.S. consumers
SUSTAINABLE PURCHASES BY CATEGORY
% saying sustainability inﬂuences purchase of products
in the following categories
SUSTAINABLE CLOTHING INFLUENCE
% saying the following factors inﬂuence their clothing purchase decisions
BLAME FOR NON-SUSTAINABLE APPAREL
% holding the following entities responsible for a piece of clothing that
was produced in a non-environmentally friendly way*
POOR QUALITY 15
LESS STYLISH 21
HARD TO CARE FOR 22
WHAT MAKES CLOTHING
Sources: Cotton Council International & Cotton Incorporated 2017 Global Environment Survey – survey of 7,365 women & men, ages 18-60 in the U.S., U.K., India,
China, Mexico, Germany, and Italy who have involvement in clothes shopping. Cotton Council International & Cotton Incorporated 2016 Global Lifestyle Monitor –
survey of 6,000 women & men, ages 15-54 in the U.K., India, China, Mexico, Germany, and Italy.
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