Sustainability facts and statistics for business - featured image 6.jpg

35 facts every sustainable business owner should know in 2023

Use these facts to convince, inspire and motivate people to join your sustainable mission.

Facts are powerful tools for sustainable brands. Pitching investors, inspiring folk, or finding motivation for your mission are made easier with the right numbers to hand. Even on a planet flooded with gloomy figures about the future, a well-placed fact can still convince, energise and jolt into action.

To help sustainable business owners, Akepa has compiled 35 facts that make the case for sustainable brands like yours.

We’ve broken these facts down into five manageable categories. Each addresses an area that the sustainable businesses we work with find useful when building momentum around their climate-positive vision..

How to use these facts

  • In your pitch deck – If you’re a sustainable startup pitching to investors, having cold hard facts will convince. A logical, fact-based account for doing sustainable business is essential for these audiences.
  • When talking to your folk – Facts cut through the fluff. They show your sustainable followers why your business needs to exist, and how it can help them live sustainably. Sprinkle these facts lightly though. Messages are 22 times more effective when presented as a story, and some argue that fact overload can turn people off.
  • For your own inspiration – Growing your sustainable business is a tough journey. Setbacks are inevitable, and it’s easy to lose motivation. These facts will reassure you that your products do have a purpose – helping people make better choices to improve the planet.

Contents (click to skip to the section):

Facts to show the huge demand for sustainability

Demand for sustainable ways of living is rocketing. As folk experience the impacts of the climate crisis, businesses like yours serve a real desire to live better for the planet. These facts are excellent additions to your pitch deck to show that’s the case:

  • 93% of consumers maintained or increased their sustainability purchases in 2022 – even as cost of living increased around the world. (IRi Worldwide)
  • Products marketed as sustainable have grown 2.7 times faster than those not marketing as sustainable. (NYU Stern)
  • Brands with more sustainable products in their lineup enjoy more loyalty from customers (with 34% coming back for more) than brands with few sustainable offerings (27%). (McKinsey)
  • 77% of people are influenced by a company’s environmental record when deciding to buy from. (PwC)
  • Google searches for sustainable products rose 71% from 2016-2021, showing that mastering online search is a huge opportunity to speak to sustainably conscious people. (WWF)
  • 18% of people always take a company’s environmental record into account when deciding whether to recommend a product to a friend or family. (PwC)
  • 48% of new products mention sustainability in their pitch – which means that effectively communicating sustainability is now more important than ever. (NYU Stern)
  • But be careful when reading intentions – According to a 2019 survey, 65% of respondents said they intend to buy sustainability-focussed brands, but only 26% follow through on this. (Harvard Business Review)

Facts on your sustainable folk

Your sustainable mission needs a following to take off. These facts narrow down the people most likely to be advocates for your sustainable mission.

  • 67% of Millennials (born 1983-1994) and Generation X (around 1964 -1982) prefer to buy from sustainable brands when they can. This is notably higher than Baby Boomers (1946 – 1963) at 45% and even, surprisingly, Gen Z (1995-2012) at 55%. (World Economic Forum)
  • It’s not only millennials though – 90% of people in Generation X (around 1960 -1983) are willing to spend 10% more on a product they believe is sustainable. (First Insight)
  • Climate change is a top three concern for millennials and Generation Z (1995-2003), second only to cost of living. (Deloitte)
  • 52% of Europeans will choose to buy from one online store over another if online delivery is thought to be more sustainable – a fact worthing knowing if you reach many of your people online. (SendCloud)
  • In a 2022 survey, 24% of consumers saw themselves as the most important actor in stopping the climate crisis, followed by companies (23%) and international political actors (21%). Sustainable brands need to provide people with opportunities to live their principles. (Simon Kucher)
  • In 2022, 33% of consumers said affordability was their biggest barrier to buying sustainably. Inflation and increased cost of living will grow this number.  (Simon Kucher)
Sustainability facts & stats for business owners 2023 - image 1
Image Credit: Simon Kucher

Facts to show how sustainable business is better business

Sustainably-run businesses are not just for the environment – they’re just plain better. These facts show why.

  • Environmentally focussed startups are twice as likely to survive as their non-conscious counterparts through their early development. (University of Trento)
  • Reducing material waste through zero and low-waste policies can help to improving operating profits by as much as 60%. (McKinsey)
  • 56% of employees are more inclined to stay with a company if they have a strong sustainability record – meaning sustainability has implications for keeping your best people. (GetSmarter)
  • 89% of companies with a strong environmental record outperform the market. (Deutsche Bank)
  • 90% of studies on Environmental, Social and Governance factors (ESG) factors show that brands with higher ESG scores have a lower cost of capital. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Most sustainable products can be sold for more thanks to their contribution to sustainable living. With the exception of a few product types, these premiums range from 8% – 136%. (NYU Stern)
Sustainability facts & stats for business owners 2023 - image 2
Image Credit: NYU Stern

Facts to show the perils of greenwashing

We’ve written about greenwashing – and its equivocal cousin greenhushing – before at Akepa. With demand for sustainability living growing, some companies are jumping on the bandwagon, and folk are catching on. These facts show the scale of the problem.

  • 42% of online sustainability claims were found to be “exaggerated, false or deceptive” in a high-profile study by the European Union. (European Commission)
  • 88% of consumers don’t immediately trust a brand that claims to be sustainable, showing the importance of walking and talking sustainability. (Genomatica)
  • 30% of millennials will unfollow accounts that believe to be posting inauthentic content. (Social Media Today)
  • 90% of millennials – one of the demographics most invested in sustainable living – say authenticity is a top influence when deciding to buy. (Social Media Today)
  • 40% of people wouldn’t recommend a product to their friends and family if they felt a brand was falling short on its environmental claims. (Shift Insight)
  • 17% of people would actively discourage their friends and family from buying a product if they felt environmental claims were overstated. (Shift Insight)
  • 55% of people are looking for companies to explain the sustainability credentials of their product compared to alternatives – simply labelling your product ‘sustainable’ is no longer enough. (Genomatica)
  • Companies who mislead online (including greenwashing) could face a fine equal to 10% of annual turnover under proposed legislation in the UK. More laws are likely to follow on questionable environmental claims made online. (Business & Human Rights Resource Centre)
  • Lastly, on greenhushing, 67% of sustainability leaders have a net zero and science based reduction target. But 23% of those have decided not to publish their milestones. (South Pole)
What is greenhushing? Meaning & definition | Akepa - South Pole report 2022 net zero targets
Image Credit: South Pole

Facts to show why your sustainable mission counts

Business as it’s done now is incompatible with a safe living world. These facts highlight the scale of the problem in business as usual, and show the urgency for sustainable alternatives.

  • Only 9% of Europe’s largest companies are set to reach their 2050 emissions target at the current pace – showing the need for smaller, innovative companies to lead the way. (Accenture)
  • 80% of a consumer goods company’s greenhouse emissions comes from its suppliers – emphasising the need to think carefully about who you work with if your company produces products. (McKinsey)
  • More than 400 million tons of plastic waste are produced by brands each year. Packaging, fashion and consumer goods are the key culprits. (Statista)
  • Household consumption is responsible for 60% of global carbon emissions, highlighting the need for sustainable alternatives to everything that we buy and eat. (Columbia University)
  • A website with 100,000 pageviews a month emits 2,112kg of CO2 every year (check out our guide for how you can reduce that number). (Website Carbon)
  • And finally, a hopeful fact: 57% of new companies in the are environmentally focussed startups – your work is part of a movement changing the way people live. (McKinsey)


The facts above strengthen the case behind your sustainable mission. Used well, they’ll inspire, convince and motivate.

That said, facts alone aren’t enough to tell a convincing sustainable story. If you’re looking for support telling the world about your mission, why not talk to us? We’ve supported sustainable businesses of all sizes to tell their stories through specialist digital marketing.

Take a peek at what your brand could achieve with our help, or introduce yourself at

Follow us on:
Akepa @ Linkedin Akepa @ Instagram Akepa @ Twitter

Benedict Gardner

Benedict is a writer and communications expert based in Barcelona. Formerly from the UK where he studied Geography at Oxford.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.