Sustainable Lifestyles to Drive Sales, Market Share, and Innovation within Five Years

BSR and Futerra Survey of 50 Global Businesses Examines Consumer Behavior and Sustainability
Sep 19, 2013 9:30 AM ET
Press Release

PARIS, September 19, 2013 /3BL Media/ - Increasing numbers of businesses are enabling sustainable consumer behaviors such as recycling, healthy living, the purchase of sustainable products, product take-back, and water conservation. According to new survey results released today by BSR and Futerra, business leaders expect exponential growth in consumer interest and business action on these sustainable lifestyles issues within five years. At the same time, they are struggling to articulate that potential within their current business models.

This survey of 54 leaders was undertaken as part of the Sustainable Lifestyles Frontier Group, managed by BSR and Futerra. The survey report launched today, Value Gap – The Changing Value of Changing Consumer Behaviors, outlines transformational changes expected by 2018, including:

The business case for sustainable consumption will shift. Survey respondents named "reduced risk," "meeting regulations," and "managing reputation" as the major benefits from enabling sustainable lifestyles today.  However, they overwhelmingly placed "increased market share," "sales growth," and "innovation" as the emerging drivers of value.

Consumer demand will soar. Business leaders estimated that only 2 percent of consumers are "very interested" in sustainable lifestyles today. Within five years, they expect 98 percent of consumers to be interested. This near total market transformation is prompting today’s pilot initiatives in sustainable lifestyles.

Business action will double. Almost 40 percent of businesses surveyed have begun encouraging their consumers to live more sustainable lifestyles. A further 40 percent of respondents said they plan to start doing so before 2018.

Hard data and clarity are key. Despite high expectations of value creation from sustainable lifestyles, the survey discovered significant barriers to action. The top three frustrations from business leaders include:             

  • 75 percent cited short-term pressures
  • 63 percent cited lack of hard data on business benefits
  • 61 percent cited difficulty quantifying intangible outcomes of action

Speaking at today’s launch, co-founder of global sustainability agency Futerra Solitaire Townsend said, “Behavior change, green lifestyles, and sustainable consumption are hot topics, but they suffer from a severe case of ‘pilot purgatory.’ Only a clear and compelling business case will propel those pilots to transformative scale—and only then will sustainable lifestyles move to the heart of business strategy.”

“Our survey shows the path towards the elusive but essential goal of an economy that enables sustainable lifestyles,” said Aron Cramer, BSR President and CEO. “The results of the survey reveal the contours of a transformed economy that creates great opportunities for forward-looking businesses, and for all of us who prioritize value and satisfaction over consumption.”


Survey Media Pack

A Media Pack with headshots, graphs and graphics from the survey, and full report is available here.

About the Value-Gap Survey
In early 2013, BSR and Futerra surveyed 54 of the world’s leading brands and undertook several individual interviews.

About the Sustainable Lifestyles Business Group
Jointly launched in April 2013 by BSR and Futerra, the Sustainable Lifestyles Frontier Group is taking the lead on accelerating this movement, learning from participating businesses on how to enable sustainable lifestyles across industries and around the globe.

About BSR
BSR works with its global network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. Visit for more information about BSR’s more than 20 years of leadership in sustainability.

About Futerra
We partner with change-maker brands to make sustainable development so desirable that it becomes normal. Founded in 2001, we are now headquartered in London, with offices in Stockholm and New York. You could call us a sustainability agency - 


Stéphanie Leblanc
Europe Communications Manager, BSR
+33 1 46 47 28 05

Stuart Duncan
Communications Liaison, Futerra
+44 (0)20 7549 4700

Stéphanie Leblanc
Europe Communications Manager, BSR
+33 1 46 47 28
Stuart Duncan
Communications Liaison, Futerra
+44 (0)20 7549