Navigating Consumer Choices: Factors Shaping Consumer Attitudes Towards Sustainable Products 

New state-of-the-art report by the 3-CO project examines factors influencing consumer behaviour towards sustainable products


Eco-consciousness and environmental concerns are increasingly driving consumer behaviour, motivating individuals to make more sustainable and green purchasing decisions. However, the prevalence of greenwashing and a lack of credible evidence backing sustainability claims continue to fuel scepticism among consumers, particularly regarding green and bio-based products. 

In response to these challenges, a recently published report by the EU-funded research project 3-CO (Concise Consumer Communication through Robust Labels for Biobased Systems) has conducted an in-depth examination of factors shaping consumer behaviour towards sustainable products. Grounded in a thorough literature review, the report explores both the drivers encouraging consumers to embrace sustainable options and the barriers hindering their adoption. 

Central to these findings is the significant role of eco-labelling in steering the shift towards sustainability by positively impacting consumer behaviour. Specifically, the study highlights the importance of Label and Certification Schemes (LCS) on a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) level. These schemes do not only foster trust among consumers but also provide essential support instruments to retailers and policymakers in promoting bio-based solutions. 

As the demand for sustainable products continues to grow, this research underscores the vital role of eco-labelling strategies in guiding consumer choices and advancing us towards a more environmentally friendly future.

The full report “State-of-the-art report on consumer behaviour towards sustainable products” is available at:  

The 3-CO project is currently conducting a survey on social innovation and would appreciate your contribution.

Key Drivers of Consumer Behaviour Towards Green Products

Consumer choices towards green products are shaped by a multitude of factors, with environmental awareness and green consciousness emerging as top influences. This underscores the growing significance consumers place on eco-conscious practices. Moreover, trust and transparency in sustainable businesses stand out as crucial drivers, highlighting the demand for clear and candid communication about environmental initiatives. Eco-labels play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between producers and consumers, offering clarity and assurance. Additionally, corporate social responsibility and pro-environmental strategies resonate strongly with ethical consumerism, further swaying purchase decisions. Brand perception and positive attitudes also contribute significantly to these trends. Meanwhile, demographic variables such as gender and educational level exert additional influence on consumer preferences. Studies reveal a general willingness among consumers to pay green premiums for bio-based products, with certain categories like disposable products, cosmetics, and personal care items showing particularly high green premiums. The level of information available further amplifies this inclination, emphasising the importance of informed decision-making in sustainable consumption.

Fostering Trust and Confidence: The Role of Eco-labels in Sustainable Consumer Choices

The results show, that consumers seek transparency and dependability in the products they buy. By eliminating information asymmetry and empowering customers to make more sustainable decisions, eco-labels are an essential tool and a key element for brands that want to attract eco-conscious consumers. This leads to the conclusion, that genuineness and transparency might lessen scepticism and worries about greenwashing. Eco-labels should therefore offer trustworthy, comprehensible information to bridge the gap between favourable attitudes and purchase behaviour. By increasing consumer confidence, certification can further reduce perceived risks by ensuring that eco-labelled items meet quality and performance standards.

Empowering sustainable choices: strategies to navigate consumer behaviour

Drawing from comprehensive research, the report outlines key strategies to foster sustainable consumer behaviour. Central to this approach is transparent communication and education on sustainability, coupled with highlighting the manifold environmental and social benefits of green products. Addressing consumer scepticism and actively engaging them through targeted awareness campaigns are pivotal in driving change. Moreover, accentuating the economic, social, hedonic, and altruistic advantages of sustainable products amplifies their appeal. Certified eco-labels serve as beacons of trust, effectively communicating the advantages of green choices. Offering accessible information through labels and QR codes can empower consumers to make informed decisions. Tailored communication strategies for different consumer segments can further enhance the marketability of sustainable products. Recognising the complexity of consumer decision-making, the report underscores the necessity for ongoing research, particularly in examining the effect of digital tools in enhancing consumer understanding of bio-labels and their potential to promote sustainable consumption.

About the 3-CO Project

The key objective of the EU funded research project 3-CO (Concise Consumer Communication through Robust Labels for Biobased Systems) is to support sustainable consumption and improve consumer behaviour through smart digital solutions and guidelines for Label and Certification Scheme (LCS) holders. 3-CO will therefore develop and demonstrate the viability of a supportive framework for LCS on Business-to-Consumers (B2C) communication for industrial bio-based products, and will publish guidelines for label development. 

Find out more about 3-CO at

The 3-CO project is funded by the European Union under Grant Number 101058578. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.


3CO project, original text, 2024-06-10.


European Research Executive Agency
European Union
nova-Institut GmbH


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