What do Greta Thunberg and Market Research Have in Common?

More than you think.

The Swedish born climate change agent is a global force. And that’s reflected by a study of 30,000 people in 35 countries conducted by Sustainability.com (a think tank following sustainability issues and trends). They found that 62% of customers want companies to take a stand on issues such as sustainability, transparency, and fair employment practices. More than ever, companies are tuning in to ever-changing consumer expectations regarding environmental change. Our research experience suggests the same.

What does this mean for brands?

There will be increasing emphasis for businesses to address these issues and provide a means for consumers to make choices that help create change based on this emerging global discussion.

Who’s doing it?

Many of our clients across a variety of industries are increasingly aware of the importance of this movement from the consumer perspective.

One tourism agency positions their region in terms of sustainable activities:

  • Eat and drink local.
  • Play local.
  • Shop local.
  • Promoting a “Car Free” program to minimize air pollution and provide travelers with incentives and discounts from local businesses.


An online travel agency recently analyzed traveler reviews and revealed the trending and popular “hot spots” for eco travelers, noting the shift from “tourist” to “conscious traveler”. This will become increasingly important to travelers making vacation choices.

A manufacturer of printers and imaging related equipment created a sustainability strategy with action items to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing processes, products and services.

What does this have to do with Merrill Research?

We help many of our clients with their sustainability research initiatives from a variety of perspectives. Among the studies we’ve conducted are:

  • Focus groups to understand if printer cartridge recycling processes met customers’ requirements.
  • Quantitative research that measured the demand and importance for the delivery of organic products as a benefit of healthcare membership—identified the segments where this was important and could be a potential driver for membership and revenue.
  • Focus groups to understand the importance of environmental compliance for 32-bit processors, helping shape communications strategy for a major semiconductor manufacturer.
  • Quantitative research for a beverage alcohol company to understand the importance of GMO ingredients in the brand selection process.
  • Numerous additional quantitative studies for leading beverage alcohol brands that revealed consumers are increasingly concerned about sustainability and social responsibility as well as quality and consistency.


Is your company informed about sustainability and the importance customers place on it?

Thunberg recently told Business Insider that no companies are doing enough to save the planet. Our research indicates that many customers want to buy from companies that provide sustainable products and/or services.

While positioning solely on sustainability is ultimately untenable, when choosing between two products that are equal on features, price, performance, etc.—sustainability may tip the scale in your company’s favor. We’d be happy to share with you how to measure and improve your sustainability profile using market research.

Contact Merrill Research today.

By Angela Burtch, Vice President of Research