It has been almost 35 since the World Commission on Environment and Development delivered the seminal report entitled, Our Common Future (1987), which not only catapulted the notion of sustainability and sustainable development into the mainstream, but also helped create (or even resurrect) related notions such as organic agriculture, circular and low-carbon economy, green technologies, and the like.
Crises of all sorts came and went ever since, and despite the topic being sporadically relegated by these crises from public consciousness, one can safely state that sustainability notions - as ambiguous as they may be sometimes perceived - are well-established in both developed and developing economies. The Eco-wakening Report (2021) informs us that google searches involving sustainable goods have increased by 71% globally since 2016. In India, sales of organic products have grown by 13% since 2018, while 41% of consumers in China say they want eco-friendly products. Similarly, between 77-78 % of consumers of three Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, and Denmark) expect daily groceries to be produced in an ethical and sustainable way, while a good portion of consumers in the UK have been consciously limiting their single-use of plastic (61 %); and buying more seasonal (49%) and locally produced goods (45%) over the last year.
Although sustainability still does not rank higher over the consumer quest for products’ properties such as quality, cost-effectiveness, and convenience, the message to businesses and governments is loud and clear. It is here, where market research must continue playing its pivotal societal role in helping the private and public sector better understand consumers' current and evolving attitudes in order to help tailor goods, services, and messaging that will help make the world more sustainable.