As a practitioner of organic, sustainable farming practices, we view the concept of sustainability more holistically. To us sustainability includes a healthy environment, healthy plant life, healthy animal and insect life, healthy environment for our children, a healthy Inn hospitality, and a healthy balance sheet.
For those of us who are producing a product or service using sustainable measures, we are doing so because we believe it is the RIGHT thing to do. There are environmental reasons that drive our choices, not financial ones. Most recognize that making these better choices has an added cost associated with them. We are willing to pay this extra cost because we believe it is the right thing to do. Most of us do not do it as a marketing tool to sell more or at a higher price, even with it costing more to produce.
However, marketing research on retail and consumer preferences suggest a different story. Most retailers DO charge more for sustainable products because they are also trying to provide a sustainable service to be able to provide those products. That has become a successful approach for food retailers like Whole Foods and Wild Oats. Consumers know going into those stores that they are going to pay more for a better product and better service.