Guest blog post by Melissa Chaudet, senior research associate.

It’s no secret that European consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their consumption habits. We’ve recently conducted net-new data research to gain a snapshot of European consumers’ environmental expectations and attitudes. We found that they:

  • Actively seek more environmentally friendly options when shopping. Over half of Europe-7 online adults agree that it’s worth paying more for sustainable or environmentally friendly products. Recyclability of packaging and environmentally friendly shipping are among the options that European consumers actively seek in their purchase journey. Brands must start integrating and activating sustainability in customer journeys. You can read more about the emotions that drive customers to make sustainable choices in my colleague’s blog post here.
  • Don’t always walk the talk with regards to their environmental preferences. Our research identified a gap between consumers’ attitudes toward the environment and their actual behaviors. Barriers to sustainability purchasing, such as price or convenience, prevent customers from acting on their intentions. To reduce consumers’ cognitive dissonance, organizations that serve customers in Europe must identify and break down the barriers to sustainable purchasing. You can read more about these barriers in the Forrester blog The Green Consumer Paradox, written by myself and my colleague Thomas Husson.
  • Have divergent environmental expectations and challenges depending on their location. Consumers’ readiness to act on their environmental concerns varies among European countries. A significant portion of UK online adults don’t mind purchasing products that aren’t environmentally friendly, whereas Italian consumers are less likely to do so. There is no “one size fits all,” and you must do the consumer research to clarify the level of environmental sensitivity of your customer base, as well as the factors that drive their environmental demand. Read my colleague’s blog The New Green Consumer to learn more counterintuitive facts about green consumers.
  • Don’t trust brands to act on their environmental commitments. European consumers believe brands must drive sustainability but don’t trust them to do so. Our data shows that 69% of them wish companies were more transparent about their business practices. Businesses must embrace transparency by design to fortify stakeholder trust in their sustainability commitments.