Global Study Reveals Consumer Preference for Sustainable Brands

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Placing sustainability at the heart of the business model is helping companies improve their relationships with stakeholders and providing a robust competitive advantage. Sustainable ways of doing business help companies to reduce risk across operations, while maintaining value and relevance to consumers and inspiring employees.

An international study by Unilever involving 20,000 adults across five countries shows that one-third of consumers now choose to purchase from brands based on their social and environmental impact. According to the study, a market opportunity to the tune of €966 billion exists for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear.

The study not only collected feedback about brand choices from consumers, but it also went ahead to map their claims against real buying decisions, providing a more accurate picture than ever of what people are actually buying – and why.

The study’s findings reveal an extraordinary opportunity for companies that get it right. Twenty-one percent of the people surveyed said they would actively choose brands if they made their sustainability credentials clearer on their packaging and in their marketing. This represents a potential untapped opportunity of €966 billion out of a €2.5 trillion total market for sustainable goods.

The extent of this opportunity is also further borne out by Unilever’s own financial performance. Its brands such as Dove, Hellmann’s and Ben & Jerry’s, which have integrated sustainability into their products, delivered almost half the company’s global growth in 2015. Notably, these sustainable brands are also growing 30 percent faster than the rest of Unilever’s business.

The study also indicates that the trend for purpose-led purchasing is greater among consumers in emerging economies than in developed markets. While 53 percent of shoppers in the UK and 78 percent in the US say they feel better when they buy products that are sustainably produced, that number rises to 88 percent in India and 85 percent in Brazil and Turkey.

Keith Weed, Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, said that this research shows that to succeed globally, and especially in emerging economies across Asia, Africa and Latin America, brands should go beyond traditional focus areas like product performance and affordability, and must demonstrate their social and environmental credentials before the consumers.

Source and Image: Unilever