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

35 facts every sustainable business owner should know

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:

  • The sustainability-conscious consumer segment rebounded to make up 22% of shoppers worldwide in 2023, after dipping to 18% in 2022. They’re projected to spend a total of $1 trillion by 2027. (Kantar)
  • Products marketed as sustainable have grown 2 times faster than those not marketed 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)
  • 8 out of 10 people are open to paying a 5% premium for sustainable goods. (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 about intentions. While 70% of consumers say they care about a sustainable lifestyle, 61% still lack the awareness and action to follow through on that. (NIQ)
Consumer insights and sustainability premiums from PwC June 2023
Local production/sourcing is top-of-mind when you want shoppers to pay more for sustainable goods. Source: PwC

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.

  • Gen Z (1995-2012) and Millenials (1983-1994) show the highest consideration for sustainability, at 94% and 93% respectively. (ESW)
  • Surprisingly, it’s Gen X (around 1960 -1983) who are most likely to pay more than any other generation for sustainable items, at 78%. Across the board, willingness to pay a price premium of 10% has increased. (First Insight)
  • Climate change remains a top three concern for Millenials and Gen. Other causes for worry are cost of living and unemployment. (Deloitte)
  • On average, 79% of consumers in fast-growing markets like China, India, and Indonesia are concerned about environmental sustainability, versus 55% in developed markets like the US and Europe. (Bain & Co)
  • If you reach many of your people online, CO2-neutral delivery is just one of the sustainable options they’ll expect to see. More importantly, 72% believe fully recyclable packaging is a must. (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)
Bain & Co CEO Sustainability Guide 2023 - Figure 2
Consumers in fast-growing markets are more concerned about sustainability than those in developed markets. Source: Bain & Co

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.

  • 77% of companies say their sustainability initiatives increase customer loyalty. 63% have seen growth in sales. (Capgemini)
  • 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 improve operating profits by as much as 60%. (McKinsey)
  • And companies who outperform their competitors in revenue, profit, and ESG, are more than twice as likely to grow revenues by more than 10%. (McKinsey)
  • Approximately 70% of the workforce is drawn to companies that are environmentally sustainable and/or socially responsible. (IBM)
  • More importantly, 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)
Capgemini Sustainability & Consumer Preferences 2023
Source: Capgemini Research Institute

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.

  • 2023 saw a massive jump in greenwashing cases. Banks and other financial institutions are to blame for 70% of them. (RepRisk)
  • The same report found a link between greenwashing and social washing. One-third of public companies that are found to commit the former, are also associated with the latter. (RepRisk)
  • Greenwashing has become so widespread, that more than half (exactly 52%) of global shoppers have found a brand guilty of greenwashing. (Kantar)
  • 42% of online sustainability claims were found to be “exaggerated, false or deceptive” in a high-profile study by the European Union. (European Commission)
  • Nearly ¾ of executives said most organizations in their industry would be caught greenwashing if they were investigated thoroughly. (Google Cloud)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Big companies giving inaccurate or misleading information could face a fine equal to 10% of annual turnover under proposed anti-greenwashing legislation in the UK. More laws are likely to follow on questionable environmental claims made online. (Business & Human Rights Resource Centre)
  • Lastly, on greenhushing, over 50% of the world’s largest companies are committed to net zero. But one-third don’t even have emissions reduction targets set in place. (Net Zero Tracker)
RepRisk Greenwashing Research 2023
Source: RepRisk

Greenwashing facts & stats: infographic

To mix things up a bit, here are some facts and stats about the dreaded greenwashing – this time in infographic form. Feel free to share this and give us a credit if you do!

2024 Greenwashing statistics infographic Akepa V2-min

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.

  • While more companies are committing to net zero and cutting emissions, only 18% of them are on track to reach their 2050 goal. (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)
  • We’re generating more than 350 million tons of plastic waste each year. If no change is made, the amount is expected to triple to 1 billion by 2060. (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 page views 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

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Benedict Gardner

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

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