The trend toward buying products based at least in part on their sustainability and social responsibility appears to be holding firm. Both a survey conducted at the 2019 ShiftCon eco-wellness influencer conference and a more extensive 2017 EcoFocus WorldWide survey measuring consumers’ buying attitudes found that today’s products are evaluated on more than just price and quality.  


As Malaysia moves closer to achieving 100% compliance with its national MSPO certified sustainability scheme for its palm oil production, it’s clear the country’s efforts are in keeping with growing consumer demand. 


Two audiences, similar results 

ShiftCon is an eco-wellness influencer conference focusing on food, wellness and sustainability. Attendees are well-versed on nutrition and sustainability. The survey was conducted at the booth. 


The EcoFocus Trend Study is a syndicated survey designed and managed by EcoFocus Worldwide. The EcoFocus data were collected using an online survey conducted among a sample of 4,000 U.S. adults ages 18 to 65 years. EcoFocus reported results by respondents (called Consumers Who Care) who say the environmental reasons always, usually or sometimes play a role in choosing the products they buy. 


While the two surveys differed in methodology and how the questions were phrased, the results appear to validate a growing trend that should cause product manufacturers to take notice. 


  • ShiftCon 2019: 88% reported that they always or usually think about a product’s environmental impact. 

EcoFocus 2017: 76% stated that a company’s commitment to using ingredients that are certified to be sustainable is extremely or very influential to their purchase decisions. 


  • ShiftCon 2019: 91% reported that a product’s country of origin is important to them. 

EcoFocus 2017: 56% said it is extremely or very important to buy products that are produced in environmentally responsible countries. 


  • ShiftCon 2019: 78% reported that they always or usually choose products that support family farmers. 

EcoFocus 2017: 51% said seeing Fair Trade on product labels is important. (Fair trade advocates for improved social and environmental standards.)  

Product marketers watch trends such as these because, even though the numbers may not have been collected the same way, the results represent a growing body of evidence about how consumers make buying decisions. And based on the increasing percentages from 2017 to 2019, it appears that a company’s commitment to protecting people and planet is becoming a very important purchase influencer.

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