Sustainable products and services will be mainstream by 2020, according to the Forum for the Future.
It launched a study with Sainsbury’s and Unilever, designed to help the consumer goods industry meet the needs of the consumer of the future.
Household brands and retailers will help make green living normal and easier for millions of people around the world, and progress towards sustainable consumption will not be knocked off course by a weak global economy, it said.
Sainsbury’s chief executive, Justin King, said:
“Sustainability will continue to rise higher up the agenda over the coming years, so it is key that brands work to ensure they can respond to consumer demand.
“Being a sustainable company is not about box ticking, it’s about future-proofing your business and building trust and brand loyalty that will last for years to come.”
Amanda Sourry, chairman of Unilever UK & Ireland, said:
“The old model of ever greater consumption, with growth at any price, is broken.
“Companies that succeed in the future will be those that reduce their environmental impact whilst increasing their social and economic impacts.”
Consumer Futures 2020 contains four scenarios which explore how global trends may change our world, consumer behaviour and the consumer goods industry over the next decade.
In each scenario social and environmental pressures drive sustainable goods and services into the mainstream, whether or not consumers actively demand them and regardless of whether the global economy is thriving or subdued.
It is designed as a practical tool to help retailers, brands and manufacturers throughout the global consumer goods industry plan for the future.
Sainsbury’s and Unilever plan to use it as a platform for collaboration and innovation, jointly developing profitable and sustainable initiatives that will help them meet the ambitious commitments in Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan and Sainsbury’s five corporate responsibility values.