Study identifies sustainability disconnect between consumers and executives

Consumers ready to 5% more for online orders if delivered sustainably, 76% would wait an extra day for climate-friendly transport.

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West Monroe Partners, a full-service business and technology consultancy, has announced the findings from its latest study, which found that more than half of North American supply chain executives currently consider developing a sustainable supply chain as a strategic priority.

Conducted in partnership with Loyola University’s Supply and Value Chain Center and BearingPoint, the study also found that of companies that plan to implement sustainability initiatives, improved competitive advantage and brand image are the key motivators. According to West Monroe’s study, 36% of companies have plans to incorporate sustainability into their operations and 22% of that group plan to do so in the next one to three years.

Last year, West Monroe conducted a sustainability survey among North American consumers and found that more than half of consumers are willing to pay at least 5% higher prices for products ordered online if they’re delivered sustainably, and 76% would wait at least one extra day for climate-friendly transport. European consumers shared a similar willingness to wait longer and slightly more tolerance for higher prices, according to the equivalent survey conducted by BearingPoint.

“It’s telling that more companies aren’t implementing sustainable business practices in their operations given the demands of customers,” said Yves Leclerc, managing director at West Monroe Partners. “Most supply chain teams are struggling to manage the complexities of globalization, the war for talent and increasing demands so allocating budget and resources towards sustainability doesn’t seem feasible unless companies can put together a business case for the return on the investment.”

The North American survey’s results were compared against a survey conducted by West Monroe’s global alliance partner, BearingPoint. In Europe, 59% of companies surveyed stated that developing a sustainable supply chain is already a strategic priority. European supply chain executives also cite brand image improvement as the most important motivator.

Innovation was far less important in European respondents than in North American respondents (36% versus 47%). Dissimilar to North American respondents, European supply chain executives placed the highest importance on the economic impacts of sustainability whereas North American executives prioritized environmental impact.

A copy of the full survey results can be found here.

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