In recent years, sustainable development has become a crucial factor for consumers — especially the most dominant generation today, the millennials. They have distinct values, behavior and habits when it comes to earning and spending.

On average, millennials — more than other generations — spend more on comforts and conveniences. They most likely spend their money for pricey coffee, clothes, and restaurants, and out of town trips. Despite of this, one good thing about this generation is their strong affinity with sustainable products and services.

According to The Sustainability Imperative report by a global measurement and data analytics company, Nielsen, consumer brands that demonstrate commitment to sustainability outperform those that don’t. It says that consumers are trying to be responsible citizens of the world, and they expect the same from corporations.

As noted in the report, sales of consumer goods from brands with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability in 2015 have grown three times higher than those without. In fact, 66% of consumers said that they are willing to pay more for sustainable brands, 20% higher than the previous year.

“Consumer brands that haven’t embraced sustainability are at risk on many fronts,” Carol Gstalder, senior vice-president of Nielsen Reputation & Public Relations Solutions, said in the report. “Social responsibility is a critical part of proactive reputation management. And companies with strong reputations outperform others when it comes to attracting top talent, investors, community partners, and most of all consumers.”

According to the same report, millennials are the most willing group to pay extra for sustainable offerings. This finding was concluded after more than 30,000 online consumers from 60 countries were polled. Next to millennials, generation Z and baby boomers are the generations who are willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.

“Brands that establish a reputation for environmental stewardship among today’s youngest consumers have an opportunity to not only grow market share but build loyalty among the power-spending millennials of tomorrow, too,” Grace Farraj, senior vice-president of Nielsen Public Development & Sustainability, said.

Globally, based on the 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report, the inclination among Filipinos that buy socially responsible brands is among the strongest. It is noted that 83% of Filipinos said that they are willing to pay more for sustainable brands, a remarkable four point increase from the previous year.

“Sustainability is a worldwide concern and this is especially true for consumers in a growing population such as the Philippines to be continually aware of environmental and societal issues,” Stuart Jamieson, managing director of Nielsen in the Philippines, said. “More exposed to the stress in the environment and its effect to the community, consumers are trying to be responsible citizens and they expect the same from corporations.”

Mr. Jamieson said that these consumers are doing their purchase responsibly — they are checking the labels before buying, they are looking at Web sites for information on business and manufacturing practices, and they are paying closer attention to public opinion on specific brands in the news or on social media. — Mark Louis F. Ferrolino