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How has the pandemic changed consumers’ views toward sustainability?


Genomatica, San Diego, CA, USA


In June 2020, Genomatica conducted an online survey of 2,000 U.S. adults to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the public’s view on sustainability. As a leader in bioengineering and a bio-based ingredient manufacturer committed to sustainability, we were eager to learn where the results would land. Did this new threat and economic uncertainty make individuals less aware of sustainability? Or had the interruption of day-to-day life given them more time to reflect on their personal environmental footprint, what they put on their bodies and what they consume?

At the highest level, we found the latter to be true. An overwhelming majority of the people surveyed (85%) reported they’ve been thinking about sustainability as much or more during the COVID-19 pandemic (1). In fact, the 2020 survey revealed that sustainability is not only top-of-mind, individuals would like organizations to take action. Some 56% said they want brands and governments to prioritize sustainability, irrespective of the current challenges associated with the pandemic.


While this is a modest snapshot of findings from the U.S., we believe the broader sentiments apply more globally. In fact, many countries appear to be more engaged and committed to sustainability. For example, only 59% of people in America view climate change as a major threat, compared with 90% in Greece, 81% in Spain and 66% in the U.K (2).



In nearly all corners of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered daily life. Previous challenges such as battling traffic congestion and getting the kids to school have been usurped by fear of the virus, social distancing rules and the a ...

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