Consumers want brands to help them reduce their waste

New Ipsos “What the Future” survey finds consumers believe companies should take responsibility for making their products sustainable

The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Matt Carmichael Vice President, Editorial Strategy, North America
  • Kate Silverstein Media Relations Specialist
Get in touch

Topline Findings

Washington, DC, November 16, 2020

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between September 29-30, 2020. For this study, a total of 1,115 adults age 18+ were interviewed online in English. The poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points for all respondents. 

 

Full Annotated Questionnaire

1. Think about your favorite brand; it can be any type of brand or company you choose. Now, how familiar are you of the following environmental impact policies for your favorite brand?

Total Familiar Summary

 

Total

(N=1115)

Packaging

41%

Water use

40%

Use of natural resources (besides water)

37%

Greenhouse gas emissions

34%

Transparency of supply chain

28%

a. Greenhouse gas emissions

 

Total

Very familiar

11%

Somewhat familiar

23%

Not very familiar

42%

Have heard of it, know nothing about it

12%

Have not heard of it

12%

Familiar (net)

34%

Have heard of it, know nothing about it / Have not heard of it (net)

24%

b. Water use

 

Total

Very familiar

16%

Somewhat familiar

24%

Not very familiar

38%

Have heard of it, know nothing about it

10%

Have not heard of it

13%

Familiar (net)

40%

Have heard of it, know nothing about it / Have not heard of it (net)

22%

c. Packaging

 

Total

Very familiar

15%

Somewhat familiar

26%

Not very familiar

38%

Have heard of it, know nothing about it

10%

Have not heard of it

11%

Familiar (net)

41%

Have heard of it, know nothing about it / Have not heard of it (net)

21%

d. Transparency of supply chain

 

Total

Very familiar

9%

Somewhat familiar

19%

Not very familiar

48%

Have heard of it, know nothing about it

10%

Have not heard of it

14%

Familiar (net)

28%

Have heard of it, know nothing about it / Have not heard of it (net)

24%

e. Use of natural resources (besides water)

 

Total

Very familiar

13%

Somewhat familiar

25%

Not very familiar

40%

Have heard of it, know nothing about it

10%

Have not heard of it

12%

Familiar (net)

37%

Have heard of it, know nothing about it / Have not heard of it (net)

23%

2. To what extent to you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Total Agree Summary

 

Total

Purchasing sustainable brands or products makes a difference for our environment

63%

I feel better when I buy sustainable brands or products

57%

I have purchased brands/products specifically because of their sustainability practices

44%

I have avoided brands because I disagreed with their sustainability practices

38%

I have researched brands to ensure they do what they say they will when it comes to sustainability

34%

a. I have purchased brands/products specifically because of their sustainability practices

 

Total

Strongly agree

17%

Somewhat agree

27%

Neither agree or disagree

29%

Somewhat disagree

13%

Strongly disagree

11%

Don’t know

4%

Agree (net)

44%

Disagree (net)

24%

b. I have avoided brands because I disagreed with their sustainability practices

 

Total

Strongly agree

15%

Somewhat agree

23%

Neither agree or disagree

30%

Somewhat disagree

15%

Strongly disagree

14%

Don’t know

3%

Agree (net)

38%

Disagree (net)

29%

c. I have researched brands to ensure they do what they say they will when it comes to sustainability

 

Total

Strongly agree

10%

Somewhat agree

24%

Neither agree or disagree

30%

Somewhat disagree

16%

Strongly disagree

17%

Don’t know

4%

Agree (net)

34%

Disagree (net)

33%

d. I feel better when I buy sustainable brands or products

 

Total

Strongly agree

23%

Somewhat agree

33%

Neither agree or disagree

26%

Somewhat disagree

9%

Strongly disagree

6%

Don’t know

3%

Agree (net)

57%

Disagree (net)

14%

e. Purchasing sustainable brands or products makes a difference for our environment

 

Total

Strongly agree

23%

Somewhat agree

40%

Neither agree or disagree

22%

Somewhat disagree

6%

Strongly disagree

5%

Don’t know

4%

Agree (net)

63%

Disagree (net)

12%

3. How much more are you willing to pay for your favorite brand if it is made from sustainable or more sustainable material?

 

Total

Significantly more

10%

A little bit more

43%

I am not willing to pay more

43%

A little bit less

2%

Significantly less

2%

More (net)

53%

Less (net)

4%

4. To what extent to you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Total Agree Summary

 

Total

Companies have a moral obligation to use sustainable packaging

66%

Companies should be responsible for paying for the cost of recycling their products, instead of consumers or cities

65%

Companies should not use single-use plastics in their products

65%

Companies should use new materials to make their products only if recycled materials are not available

62%

a. Companies have a moral obligation to use sustainable packaging

 

Total

Strongly agree

30%

Somewhat agree

35%

Neither agree or disagree

23%

Somewhat disagree

5%

Strongly disagree

3%

Don’t know

3%

Agree (net)

66%

Disagree (net)

8%

b. Companies should be responsible for paying for the cost of recycling their products, instead of consumers or cities

 

Total

Strongly agree

32%

Somewhat agree

34%

Neither agree or disagree

22%

Somewhat disagree

4%

Strongly disagree

4%

Don’t know

3%

Agree (net)

65%

Disagree (net)

9%

c. Companies should not use single-use plastics in their products

 

Total

Strongly agree

32%

Somewhat agree

33%

Neither agree or disagree

24%

Somewhat disagree

5%

Strongly disagree

3%

Don’t know

3%

Agree (net)

65%

Disagree (net)

8%

d. Companies should use new materials to make their products only if recycled materials are not available

 

Total

Strongly agree

26%

Somewhat agree

35%

Neither agree or disagree

28%

Somewhat disagree

4%

Strongly disagree

3%

Don’t know

4%

Agree (net)

62%

Disagree (net)

7%

5. Now, for something different. How often, if at all, do you throw away food that you bought but didn’t prepare or eat before it expired or went bad?

 

Total

Often

10%

Sometimes

32%

Rarely

47%

Never

9%

Don’t know

2%

6. Please describe how you feel in the following situations.

Total Guilty Summary

 

Total

When I throw out fruits or vegetables that I purchased but didn’t prepare or eat

69%

When I throw out meat that I purchased but didn’t prepare or eat

64%

When I throw away food that I put on my plate but didn’t eat

57%

When I throw out an entire food package that I tried but didn’t like

56%

When I use disposable cups, plates, or utensils to avoid having to wash dishes

43%

a. When I throw out fruits or vegetables that I purchased but didn’t prepare or eat

 

Total

Very guilty

35%

Somewhat guilty

33%

Not very guilty

11%

Not at all guilty

7%

Not applicable

11%

Don’t know

2%

Guilty (net)

69%

Not guilty (net)

18%

b. When I throw out meat that I purchased but didn’t prepare or eat

 

Total

Very guilty

38%

Somewhat guilty

26%

Not very guilty

8%

Not at all guilty

6%

Not applicable

19%

Don’t know

2%

Guilty (net)

64%

Not guilty (net)

14%

c. When I use disposable cups, plates, or utensils to avoid having to wash dishes

 

Total

Very guilty

17%

Somewhat guilty

26%

Not very guilty

21%

Not at all guilty

20%

Not applicable

15%

Don’t know

2%

Guilty (net)

43%

Not guilty (net)

40%

d. When I throw away food that I put on my plate but didn’t eat

 

Total

Very guilty

26%

Somewhat guilty

31%

Not very guilty

17%

Not at all guilty

10%

Not applicable

14%

Don’t know

2%

Guilty (net)

57%

Not guilty (net)

27%

e. When I throw out an entire food package that I tried but didn’t like

 

Total

Very guilty

27%

Somewhat guilty

29%

Not very guilty

17%

Not at all guilty

10%

Not applicable

15%

Don’t know

2%

Guilty (net)

56%

Not guilty (net)

28%

7. In what ways do you try to personally limit the amount of food waste you create? Select all that apply.

 

Total

Buy food only as I need it

55%

Buy re-usable storage containers that preserve fresh food longer

46%

Prepare or make food in bulk that I can freeze and use as needed

37%

Refuse disposable utensils, napkins and straws for takeout

19%

Order extra or bulk servings for multiple meals to reduce packaging

17%

Bring reusable or returnable containers to restaurants for takeout

11%

Seek out restaurants that use paper-based containers instead of plastic or plastic-coated containers

9%

Ask restaurants what their package options are

6%

Something else

2%

None of these

11%

8. To what extent to you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Total Agree Summary

 

Total

I value experiences more than material possessions

67%

I wish my home used less energy due to costs

63%

If I could afford to, I would switch energy sources to lessen the environmental impact

59%

In the past year, I have worked to get rid of some possessions

58%

I wish my home used less energy due to the environmental impacts

57%

I feel too dependent on things that require electrical power

54%

I am comfortable with the amount of energy my home uses

53%

I feel like I own too much “stuff”

53%

I have researched how to use less electricity/power in my home

47%

I am interested in living ‘off the grid’

36%

a. I wish my home used less energy due to the environmental impacts

 

Total

Strongly agree

22%

Somewhat agree

36%

Neither agree or disagree

27%

Somewhat disagree

9%

Strongly disagree

5%

Don’t know

2%

Agree (net)

57%

Disagree (net)

14%

b. I wish my home used less energy due to costs

 

Total

Strongly agree

27%

Somewhat agree

37%

Neither agree or disagree

23%

Somewhat disagree

7%

Strongly disagree

4%

Don’t know

2%

Agree (net)

63%

Disagree (net)

11%

c. I am comfortable with the amount of energy my home uses

 

Total

Strongly agree

16%

Somewhat agree

37%

Neither agree or disagree

25%

Somewhat disagree

17%

Strongly disagree

4%

Don’t know

2%

Agree (net)

53%

Disagree (net)

20%

d. If I could afford to, I would switch energy sources to lessen the environmental impact

 

Total

Strongly agree

28%

Somewhat agree

31%

Neither agree or disagree

24%

Somewhat disagree

9%

Strongly disagree

5%

Don’t know

3%

Agree (net)

59%

Disagree (net)

14%

e. I have researched how to use less electricity/power in my home

 

Total

Strongly agree

14%

Somewhat agree

33%

Neither agree or disagree

26%

Somewhat disagree

16%

Strongly disagree

9%

Don’t know

2%

Agree (net)

47%

Disagree (net)

25%

f. I am interested in living ‘off the grid’

 

Total

Strongly agree

15%

Somewhat agree

21%

Neither agree or disagree

24%

Somewhat disagree

17%

Strongly disagree

20%

Don’t know

3%

Agree (net)

36%

Disagree (net)

37%

g. I feel too dependent on things that require electrical power

 

Total

Strongly agree

16%

Somewhat agree

38%

Neither agree or disagree

25%

Somewhat disagree

13%

Strongly disagree

7%

Don’t know

1%

Agree (net)

54%

Disagree (net)

20%

h. I feel like I own too much “stuff”

 

Total

Strongly agree

19%

Somewhat agree

34%

Neither agree or disagree

23%

Somewhat disagree

14%

Strongly disagree

8%

Don’t know

2%

Agree (net)

53%

Disagree (net)

22%

i. I value experiences more than material possessions

 

Total

Strongly agree

31%

Somewhat agree

36%

Neither agree or disagree

25%

Somewhat disagree

5%

Strongly disagree

2%

Don’t know

2%

Agree (net)

67%

Disagree (net)

7%

j. In the past year, I have worked to get rid of some possessions

 

Total

Strongly agree

20%

Somewhat agree

38%

Neither agree or disagree

22%

Somewhat disagree

12%

Strongly disagree

7%

Don’t know

1%

Agree (net)

58%

Disagree (net)

19%

9. If someone were to give me an “experience” as a gift, I would be most interested in… (Select up to three)

 

 

Total

Travel package

56%

A meal in a nice restaurant

34%

Spa day

22%

Concert tickets

19%

A shopping trip

19%

Sports tickets

16%

Museum tickets

14%

Golf outing

6%

Other

3%

None of these

7%

 

About the Study

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted September 29-30, 2020. For this study, a total of 1,115 adults age 18+ were interviewed online in English.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the online sample for this poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points for all online respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,115, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-4.8 percentage points).

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Mallory Newall
Director, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014
mallory.newall@ipsos.com

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, US
Public Affairs
+1 718 755-8829
kate.silverstein@ipsos.com

Matt Carmichael
VP, Editorial Strategy, Ipsos in North America
+1 312 526 4786
matt.carmichael@ipsos.com

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

www.ipsos.com

The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Matt Carmichael Vice President, Editorial Strategy, North America
  • Kate Silverstein Media Relations Specialist

Society