A recent global survey by US Cotton Trust Protocol has shown that 54 per cent of sustainability leaders at apparel and textile brands saw customers’ demands for environmentally sustainable practices and products rise since the Covid-19 pandemic, while 59 per cent reported that they believe customers still continue to prioritise price when making purchases.

 

The US Cotton Trust Protocol conducted this survey to find how sustainability programmes at brands and retailers had changed in a post-Covid world.

 

The survey found that 43 per cent of respondents believe Covid-19 has had a positive impact on investments in sustainability efforts during this period, while 40 per cent believe it has had a negative impact. Likewise, they believe their customers are facing the same struggle between their pocketbooks and the environmental concerns when asked to rank how they believe customers will prioritise their purchases in the next year, respondents ranked the top two priorities as “Getting the best possible deal” and “Brand or retailer alignment with their personal values.”

 

“It’s clear that Covid-19 has caused economic challenges up and down the supply chain, but this survey shows that companies and their customers remain focused on sustainability,” Dr Gary Adams, president of the US Cotton Trust Protocol, said in a press release.

 

“As we enter recovery in many countries, systems like the Trust Protocol will be more important than ever so brands can have the data they need to show they are meeting their science-based targets,” Dr Adams said.

 

While some (9 per cent) report pausing most or all sustainability initiatives due to Covid-19, most companies continue to focus their sustainability efforts on manufacturing (25 per cent), sourcing of raw materials (25 per cent) or traceability (11 per cent).

 

Covid-19’s impact on companies’ investments in sustainability initiatives differs drastically by market. North American respondents are least likely to invest, where only 26 per cent of respondents believe Covid-19 has had a positive impact on sustainability investments at their company. While in Europe, six out of 10 (63 per cent) respondents said the pandemic has had a positive impact on their company’s sustainability efforts, and in Asia, 46 per cent of respondents said they believe there have been increases in proactive investments in sustainability initiatives.