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The cost of living crisis is making sustainability a luxury of the wealthy, according to new research from Kantar.

The data company’s Sustainability Sector Index 2022 found 65% of consumers wanted to do more to be more mindful of the planet and the environment but the increased cost of living prevented them from doing so.

Kantar carried out 33,000 interviews around the world, mapping the responses against the UN sustainable development goals.

It found despite a widespread desire to become sustainable, with 97% of people prepared to take action to live a more sustainable lifestyle, price was the biggest barrier.

Nearly 70% of consumers believed products that were better for the environment and society were more expensive.

Meanwhile just one in three (35%) of consumers who were ‘struggling’ with the cost of living said they actively sought out companies and brands that offered ways to offset their impact on the environment, compared to 53% of those who were financially ‘comfortable’.

Kantar also found knowledge of sustainable alternatives was another major barrier for sustainable behaviour, with 57% of consumers saying it was too difficult to tell which products were good or bad ethically or for the environment.

“Despite all the other crises happening across the world, the desire to become sustainable has not eroded,” said Karine Trinquetel, global head of Kantar’s Sustainability Transformation Practice.

“However, sustainability products too often come at a premium, and that gets in the way of mass adoption.

“As a result, sustainability is too often the luxury of the wealthier in society – and businesses miss out on this massive commercial opportunity.

“To realise the mainstream opportunity, brands must scale up and go to market at a price point the mass market can afford. Beyond price, brands must recognise that consumers have a sophisticated understanding of where brands should be focusing in each sector, and develop sustainability strategies that address these concerns.”