Sustainable PPE & Safety Equipment: What End-Users Really Want

For a variety of consumer products, whether it be electric vehicles, cosmetics, or couches, consumers have shown that they’re willing to pay a sustainability premium. But the calculus in B2B markets is quite different, with most procurement departments laser-focused on lowest initial price. Even for companies with advanced sustainability and ESG programs, well over half of purchasing leaders still consider cost savings the #1 driver of sustainable purchasing practices.  

Suppliers of PPE and safety equipment are increasingly challenged to offer products that excel at protecting workers, support the sustainability and ESG goals of key end-users, and can deliver all this at a competitive price point.

To help ISEA members navigate this inflection point, we partnered with ASSP and EHS Today to understand the sustainability preferences of end-users of PPE and safety equipment.  Our study identified several key takeaways:

PPE/Safety Equipment Sustainability Matters to End-Users – 80% of end-users consider the sustainability attributes of PPE/SE to be an important purchase criteria.

End-Users Want Suppliers To Do the Math – Although only 16% of end-users are very likely to pay a reasonable “sustainability premium,” they’re twice as likely to do so for suppliers that take the time to quantify sustainability benefits.

 The Procurement / Sustainability DisconnectMcKinsey has shown that only 10% of companies factor sustainability goals into category-level purchasing strategies. According to one respondent who leads EHS for a chemical manufacturer, “PPE contributions to our sustainability goals are a plus. But justifying a premium is very difficult, since our sustainability goals aren’t part of our official procurement requirements.”

Safety is Still Job #1 – Since several end-users voiced concerns about taking focus away from PPE/SE’s core purpose of protection, ISEA manufacturer members should provide proof points that their sustainable products are able to perform and protect equally or more effectively than their traditional ones. According to and EHS leader from an industrial manufacturer, “The product’s safety attributes are most important. However, I will always select a product that falls under the sustainability umbrella before another product, cost notwithstanding.”

Download the Full Study

ISEA members can download the full study, along with the predecessor study that benchmarks the sustainability practices of suppliers of PPE and safety equipment. on the member dashboard under Quick Links. 




Global PPE


We are the safety equipment industry, united in the goal of protecting workers worldwide.

Our Mission

The voice of credibility for the safety equipment industry

Members & Leadership

Learn about ISEA members, leadership and awards

Board of Trustees

Your elected officials to help guide the association

ISEA Foundation

We help develop talent and raise awareness about worker safety


Meet the team

Explore Membership

ISEA membership gives you a seat at the table, delivers powerful insights and lets you engage with peers.  

Our education & training programs improve the effectiveness of safety equipment industry professionals.


Our education & training programs improve the effectiveness of safety equipment industry professionals.

Executive Summit

Hear progressive ideas, learn best practices, and make peer connections.

Annual Business Meeting

Collaborate on standards development and track industry & policy trends

Event Calendar

See all upcoming events

Webinar Library

Access our webinar library

We are a trusted resource for industry insights and policy, with a window to Washington

Advocacy & Issues

Gain a powerful advocate in the halls of government

Industry Impact

Measuring the impact of the safety equipment industry

Industry Intelligence

Reports and tools for ISEA members

Market Data Analysis

Benchmark market share & product growth trends


Access the latest safety news & insights

Buyer's Guide

Discover our buyers guide to find the right PPE for your company and people.

Learn More

Tips For Buying PPE Online

Buying PPE online? Follow our guide to ensure it’s appropriate and high quality.

Learn More