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Our human moment

It’s time to make sustainability more human

April 3, 2023

The problem

Despite efforts to connect people with sustainable consumption, it’s still not mainstream. Recent research from Accenture Song’s Sustainability Studio — the first phase of a two-year study — identifies a Relevancy Gap between the way that organizations and people approach sustainability.

Three out of five people do not strongly resonate with the idea of living sustainably.

This lack of relevancy places a low ceiling on the impact of sustainability efforts, making it difficult for organizations to drive meaningful human connections and widespread action.

Source: Accenture Our Human Moment Sustainability Survey 2022 (n=8,000).

Introducing a life-centric approach

We set out to understand what makes sustainability relevant and actionable to people across the globe. To do so, we put aside notions of what ‘sustainability’ means, who is interested in it and who isn’t, what sustainable behaviors look like, and what needs to be solved.

The research encouraged many people to adopt new or strengthen existing sustainable habits and identities.

But we also discovered something that helps to explain the lack of mainstream sustainability.

The people we met don’t think about sustainability the way organizations do. Moreover, they think so differently that they rarely think about organizations at all.

We call this disconnect the Relevancy Gap.

Stop asking: How can we make humans more sustainable? And start asking: How can we make sustainability more human?

Our human moment - Closing the Relevancy Gap will deliver relevancy, revenue and resiliency
Our human moment - Closing the Relevancy Gap will deliver relevancy, revenue and resiliency

The case for action

Closing the Relevancy Gap will deliver relevancy, revenue and resiliency.

To achieve our sustainability goals, including scope three emissions, organizations will need to put people at the heart of the systemic sustainability challenge – inaction is not an option.

The good news is, by placing humans as the organizing concept, sustainability will deliver:

  • Relevancy: connecting with more people and driving long-term brand relationships
  • Revenue: expanding and diversifying avenues to sustainable value generation
  • Resiliency: guaranteeing the efficacy of sustainability efforts and ensuring the long-term viability of organizations

Together, we can lift the ceiling on sustainability.

This is Our Human Moment.


Mark Curtis

Global Sustainability and Thought Leadership Lead – Accenture Song

Oliver Pattenden

Global Research and Insight Director – Accenture Song Sustainability Studio

Rachel O’Reilly

Global Research Lead – Accenture Song Sustainability Studio

Paola Perini

Thought Leadership Research Senior Principal – Accenture Research

Josh Elkind

Research Specialist – Accenture Research