COVID-19 pandemic and increased hygiene are the driving factors for high consumer demands for sustainable products

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol recently surveyed sustainability decision-makers at 1,000 brands and retailers in the U.S. and U.K. to determine the impact the pandemic has had on the importance of and investment in sustainability initiatives. It has been observed that consumers worldwide have adapted to social distancing, personal hygiene, the way of dressing, and shopping.

The key highlights of the report are:
•61% of brands and retailers say their customer demand has increased for environmentally sustainable business practices and goods/services.
• Nearly two-thirds (63%) believe that the pandemic has positively impacted their company’s proactive investment in sustainability.
• Half of brands and retailers expect to see an increase in consumer spending on sustainable apparel over the next 12 months.

Dr. Gary Adams, president of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, said, “It is undeniable that the pandemic has caused unforeseen challenges for brands, retailers and consumers alike – but this research reaffirms the commitment to a continued focus on sustainability. We’re encouraged to learn that so many brands and retailers are looking to set new industry standards instead of simply following what currently exists. As we work towards recovery in many sectors, systems like the Trust Protocol are available to provide the data needed to verify that sustainability targets are being met.”

The research also found that the brands are working on the following main areas:
• Sourcing sustainably produced raw materials (42%)
• Manufacturing sustainability and reducing impacts of chemicals, water, and energy (42%)
• Safe working environments (40%)

Therefore, it was observed that the pandemic, lockdowns, and consumer awareness had increased the demand for sustainable products, and brands are shifting to this for sustaining their business.

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