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CSB Research

Sustainable Market Share Index™

In 2020, CSB partnering with IRI®, followed up its seminal 2019 analysis examining consumer purchases of sustainability-marketed consumer packaged goods.


The 2020 Sustainable Market Share Index™ finds that sustainability-marketed products are responsible for more than half of the growth in consumer packaged goods (CPGs) from 2015 to 2019, and that this growth continues despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our analysis demonstrates that sustainability-marketed products enjoy a hefty premium, continue to grow faster than their conventional counterparts and contribute to over half of the growth to overall CPG. Moreover, sustainability-marketed products not only survived but grew during the pandemic. It’s clear that brand managers who are not pursuing sustainability strategies will be increasingly left behind,” said Randi Kronthal-Sacco, Senior Scholar, Marketing and Corporate Outreach, at the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business (CSB), who led the research initiative.

Click here to read the full report.

Despite the fact that sustainability-marketed products are 16.1% of the market, they delivered 54.7% of the CPG market growth (2015-2019).

Contribution to Growth


Both sustainability-marketed and total category sales grew significantly and similarly the week ending March 15th, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Total Category $ Volume


About the Study

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are introducing more sustainable product offerings in response to consumer demand (especially strong amongst Millennials), yet research on sustainable purchasing trends is limited.

The NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business (CSB) partnered with IRI, who provided the data pro bono, to assess the share and growth figures for sustainable products, the current demographic of the sustainable purchaser, and how sustainable products are faring during COVID-19.


Our findings include:

  • Sustainability-marketed products delivered 54.7% of CPG market growth (2015-2019) despite representing only 16.1% share of the category($) in 2019, up +2.4 ppts vs. 2015. Sustainability-marketed products grew 7.1x faster than products not marketed as sustainable.
  • Sustainability-marketed products continue to grow despite the COVID-19 pandemic.In 2020, brands have begun to include carbon labeling on their packages.
  • The market share of sustainability-marketed products aligns along a continuum based on perceived category functionality or efficacy. Even in categories with low shares, shares of sustainability-marketed products increased.
  • Green Chemistry formulations are growing share and contributing differentially to category growth.
  • Sustainability-marketed branded products enjoy a significant price premium of 39.5% vs. their conventionally-marketed branded counterparts, with a widening premium of  +5.3 pts vs. 2014.
  • Upper income, millennials, college-educated and urban consumers are more likely to buy sustainability-marketed products. In addition, Middle Income, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers contribute a significant percent of sustainable sales.
  • Sustainability marketed products enjoy stronger shares online vs. in-store.


Research Questions

To conduct the research, CSB analyzed data from across 36 product categories, representing approximately 40% of total CPG sales, excluding tobacco and alcohol, to assess the following:

Consumer Purchasing Insights From the 2020 Practice Forum

Watch CSB's Randi Kronthal-Sacco present findings from the Sustainable Market Share Index study and discuss with Giannella Alvarez, former CEO of Beanitos and Pedro Silveira, President of Yogurt at Danone North America.

Watch the video from 2021

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