APEC Women Leadership Forum, the premier platform on fostering women’s economic empowerment among the 21 economies of the Asia -Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and JD.com co-launched the “APEC Report：Observation of Women’s Value in Sustainable Consumption and Production,” which adopted extensive surveys and consumption data to examine the role of women as both producers and consumers in advancing sustainability.
The report found that women are instinctively leading the green consumption path with their actions, and their shopping choices often determine the consumption patterns of each household. Meanwhile, women demonstrate prominent leadership in driving the “Sustainability/ SDG / CSR” fields in the corporate world.
Shopping greener “before you know it”
Based on the results of a survey conducted by JD.com’s Consumption and Industry Development Institute on over 2,000 respondents on the topic of responsible consumption, women weigh “environmentally friendly” as a much higher consideration than men when considering products. In fact, it is the only factor on which they outscored men, whereas the latter showed comparatively more concerns for other factors such as brand, culture, and price.
Interestingly, when being asked about the concept and their understanding of sustainable consumption, female respondents gave themselves more moderate ratings than male did, with only 49.75 percent choosing “understand very well” and “understand,” while 31.19 percent opted for “not sure.” However, their feedback on actual shopping choices unveiled a stronger tendency towards energy saving, trade-in, replaceable and recyclable products, especially in the categories of home appliances, furnishing and decorations, office supplies, car accessories, footwear, health products and more. These results demonstrate that women may have a deeper understanding about the concept of sustainable consumption than they give themselves credit for, as they are more likely to choose sustainable products instinctively.
When asked, “Which player is more important in promoting sustainable consumption?” Forty-four percent of female respondents chose “consumers” over “product makers” （30 percent）, and “circulators” (27 percent). Female respondents also showed higher approval of producers for behavior categories including offering job opportunities, supporting disadvantaged groups, proper waste handling and more.
Shaping sustainable producers with “SHE Power”
With more and more enterprises setting up the dedicated function of “Sustainability/ SDG /CSR,” the role to implement these initiatives is mainly led by women, accounting for over 60 percent in surveyed companies that have set up such dedicated departments, and 82 percent in other companies that have relevant positions, according to APEC Women Leadership Forum’s research on women business leaders, in a new attempt to study women’s role as producers in sustainable consumption.
According to the surveys on which the report is based, women leaders demonstrate stronger focus on long-term value and innovation for sustainable solutions, with respondents expressing that they started formulating relevant thinking 6 to 10 years ago (30 percent). A majority are driven by the factors of “enterprise development need” (76 percent), “inspired by global trends” (73 percent), and “guided by domestic policies” (73 percent).
The report also noted that it is urgent for the whole society to enhance awareness of responsible consumption and production amid global uncertainties in order to continue making progress toward the Sustainable Development Goal. Meanwhile, how to strike a balance between the Goal and enterprise ROI, and the lack of unified ESG standards, talents and corporate capacities, all pose threats to this course.
As a leading supply chain-based technology and service provider, JD.com is committed to collaborating with upstream and downstream partners and the whole society to collectively build a more productive and sustainable world. JD.com’s green supply chain efforts, known as the “Green Stream Initiative,” have so far engaged more than 300,000 enterprises in carbon reduction activities ranging from packaging, warehousing, transportation, product recycling and more. On the demand side, the company introduced the “Green Impact Initiative” in May 2022, which made nearly a million kinds of products on its platform more identifiable with environmentally-friendly labels, in order to raise awareness among its hundreds of millions users.