Study reveals a clear, unmet consumer demand for sustainable products in Singapore: Accenture and WWF

Posted on 16 March 2021
Sustainability in Singapore
Sustainability in Singapore
© WWF-Singapore
SINGAPORE; March 16, 2021 – A new study by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore shows that sustainable options are not sufficient for Singapore consumers to consistently make green choices. While companies are putting their eco-credentials at the forefront of their products, consumers do not trust their claims, find them confusing and want to verify the claims more easily.
 
Titled Sustainability in Singapore – Consumer and Business Opportunities, the study polled consumers and companies, and surveyed individual sentiments on social media. Overall, the results highlight the unmet demand and the need for collective, integrated action across people, public and private sectors to create a sustainable future for all.                          
 
Key insights
As Singapore accelerates sustainable development with The Green Plan 2030[1], the survey shares insights on how Singapore’s state of sustainability is a key concern, with four out of five consumers (80%) saying they care about the environment. A third (32%) of consumers added that they would make most purchasing decisions based on product sustainability and environmental impact. A further third (35%) of consumers are willing to pay a premium of up to 10% for sustainable alternatives.
 
The study showed that consumers want more avenues that enable a circular economy, by ensuring longer product use, second-life and reuse of products. This includes better packaging design and recycling of waste. Over 30% of consumers ranked sustainable ingredients and packaging as top factors in choosing sustainable disposal options in everyday shopping. Less packaging and reverse logistics are top consumer asks from e-commerce platforms.
 
Consumers also have a trust issue with many businesses, compounded by the difficulty in verifying claims made by them. A third of consumers (30%) said that competing claims have confused consumers while a fifth of Singapore consumers (23%) polled claimed that they do not trust businesses’ sustainability claims at all.
 
According to the report, with a large majority of consumers interested in the environmental impact of goods and services, businesses and the Government can do more to answer the call for sustainability. More than half of consumers (54%) view the Government as a trusted information source for achieving sustainable lifestyles. More importantly, consumers are looking to the Government to play a more active role in promoting sustainability particularly in relation to recycling, with 67% of consumers stating that recycling is critical to sustainability efforts.
 
“COVID-19 has accelerated the consumer consciousness on sustainability. It is encouraging to see sustainability influencing purchase decisions and while this gives impetus to our purpose, it also gives organisations a business opportunity. The study found more than a quarter of consumers (29%) would buy more sustainable products if they had more information on how their purchases impact sustainability,” said R. Raghunathan, Chief Executive Officer, WWF-Singapore.
 
“There is an opportunity for different stakeholders – businesses, independent organisations and the Government – to collaborate and adopt common benchmarks and standards for sustainability claims to empower consumers to make clear and informed choices. We found that businesses are increasingly recognising their role in the climate equation and are taking steps to reduce their environmental footprint, which includes tapping on ecosystem partners to co-develop commercially viable supply solutions,” said Sonia Gupta, managing director, Growth Markets, Accenture.
 
Find out more about consumers’ attitudes towards sustainability here.
 
Methodology
Accenture conducted an online survey and mindset study for 500 Singapore consumers, distributed across age, gender and income groups, to better understand what drives consumers’ purchasing decisions, and what they expect from companies, the Government and themselves. The survey was supplemented with a social media listening exercise that spanned over 47,000 conversations with over 12,000 people.
 
Interviews with 23 businesses including multinational corporations, national majors, and small and medium enterprises, across retail, food and beverage, hospitality, fast-moving consumer goods, banking, real estate, agriculture and other sectors were performed to complement the consumer study with business perspectives and to provide a broad perspective on businesses’ opportunities and challenges.
 
About Accenture
Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialised skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services—all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centres. Our 514,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners, and communities. Visit us at www.accenture.com.
 
About WWF-Singapore
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

As one of WWF’s international hubs, WWF-Singapore supports a global network spanning over 100 countries. We work to meet key conservation goals, such as deforestation, haze pollution, food security, sustainable consumption and illegal wildlife trade.
 
Contacts
Yasmin Quek
Accenture
yasmin.quek@accenture.com      
+65 9049 4273
 
Hazel Xu
WWF-Singapore
hxu@wwf.sg
+65 9452 6803
 
Sustainability in Singapore
Sustainability in Singapore
© WWF-Singapore Enlarge