IBM IBV Survey: 95% Indian respondents consider environmentally sustainable firms as more attractive employers

The global pandemic of COVID-19 elevates consumer’s focus on sustainability and willingness to pay out of their own pockets, or even take a pay cut, for a sustainable future, says a new IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study, spanning across 14,000 consumers in nine nations.

IBM IBV Survey: 95% Indian respondents consider environmentally sustainable firms as more attractive employers

The study said that nine in ten consumers reported the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their views on environmental sustainability. As per the study, COVID-19 is the top factor cited in influencing their view, more than others presented such as widespread wildfires/bushfires, disasters due to weather events and news coverage on the topic.

Differences in consumer opinion

The study also reveals differences in consumer opinion across geographies, with Americans surveyed reporting the least concern about sustainability topics. For instance, only 51% of the surveyed American consumers say addressing climate change is very or extremely important to them, compared to 73% of respondents from all other nations.

Dr. Murray Simpson, Global Lead for Sustainability, Climate & Transition, IBM Global Business Services said: “The survey showed respondents worldwide are increasingly concerned about the global climate crisis, and we have also observed businesses in many industries looking to take action to meet their customers’ and investors’ expectations and manage their own environmental goals. We see many companies beginning to make strides to build transparent supply chains or improve energy management to reduce carbon emissions with the help of innovative technologies like AI and Blockchain.”
As per the survey, many consumers are increasingly willing to change how they shop, travel, choose an employer and even where they make personal investments due to environmental sustainability factors. What is more, many surveyed employees are willing accept a lower salary to work at a sustainability-conscious employer.
The survey further points out that 71% of employees and employment seekers surveyed say that environmentally sustainable firms are more attractive employers. Furthermore, in excess of two-thirds of the full potential workforce (Full potential workforce refers to survey respondents who are employed full-time or part-time, unemployed but currently seeking employment, or a full-time student or apprentice), respondents are more likely to apply for and accept jobs with environmentally and socially responsible organisations and nearly half of the respondents trusted corporate commitments on sustainability, with 64% of respondents expecting increased public scrutiny-conscious competitors.

Environmental Sustainability and Personal Investment Decisions

Around 48% of all personal investors surveyed already take environmental sustainability into account in their investment portfolios and a further fifth (21%) surveyed say they are likely to do so in the future. Furthermore, 59% of personal investors surveyed expect to buy or sell holdings in the next year, based on environmental sustainability factors.

Willing to Pay More

Many surveyed shoppers and travelers are willing to pay more for environmental sustainability. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s financial impact on many individuals, 54% of consumers surveyed are willing to pay a premium for brands that are sustainable and/or environmentally responsible.

Besides that, 55% of consumers surveyed report sustainability is very or extremely important to them when choosing a brand – 22% higher than consumers surveyed pre-COVID-19 pandemic by IBM. Slightly more than in ten consumers surveyed say they are willing to change their purchasing behaviour to help reduce negative impact on the environment, with consumers surveyed in India (78%) and China (70%) being the most willing.


As far as the travel is concerned, one in three respondents strongly believe their personal personal travel habits contribute to climate change. Almost 82% of consumers surveyed globally would prefer a more environmentally friendly transportation option even if it costs more, but only 64% of American respondents agreed compared to 95% of Indian and 91% of Chinese respondents.


The IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed more than 14,000 adults globally from nine countries (United States, India, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Brazil and China) during March 2021 to better understand consumers’ opinions and perspectives on environmental sustainability.

Here are some India specific statistics from the Global Consumer Survey on Sustainability:

– Half of the consumers surveyed globally agreed that climate change exposure of a company, impacts investor’s financial risk. At 70%, Indian consumers have the highest levels of association of climate risk with financial risk.
– 85% Indian respondents consider environmentally sustainable companies as more attractive employers
– 93% of Indian respondents believe that their personal travel habits contribute to climate change at least a little. This is the highest across all countries surveyed.
– 95% of Indian respondents are actively looking to use more environmentally friendly modes of transportation at least a little- also highest across all countries surveyed
– 78% of consumers in India are most willing to change their purchasing behaviour to reduce a negative impact on the environment – highest across all countries surveyed. 42% of Indian respondents relied on word-of-mouth to get this information
– Consumers in India (63%) research on personal health and wellbeing benefits information of products before purchase

The IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) delivers trusted business insights from our position at the intersection of technology and business, combining expertise from industry thinkers, leading academics, and subject matter experts with global research and performance data. The IBV thought leadership portfolio includes research deep dives, benchmarking and performance comparisons, and data visualizations that support business decision making across regions, industries and technologies.