How fast are sales growing for so-called "sustainable" products to consumers and businesses?
Well, it depends on who you ask, of course, and just as importantly how a company decides to define those products in their overal portfolios.
Nevertheless the Conference Board just released an interesting new report looking at this issue, and put together a chart that shows the rise of sustainable products sales at a select group of companies over the last few years, as provided below.
Source: The Conference Board
In general, impressive growth and percentages for most of these companies, although the problem is that these numbers are based on self-definition by each company as to what constitutes a sustainable product. Note how Panasonics' number jumped markedly in 2014 after its definition of sustainable product was expanded.
The Conference Board itself notes that "This report acknowledges that the term "sustainable product" is riddled with definitional issues: the term can be confusing, flawed, and even misleading. It can be argued that truly sustainable products do not exist (all products have some environmental impact), and in fact this is the view taken by many of the companies featured in this report. Instead, many companies prefer to use terms that describe their products as being environmentally superior to existing alternatives, using terms such as "sustainability-advantaged" or "environmentally-preferable," among others."
So, the data provided here - while interesting - should be taken with a big grain of green salt.
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