Consumers Want Action Alongside Their Eco-Friendly Products

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Consumers are clearly invested in the sustainability and accountability of companies and brands. Regardless of how much consumers trust a brand, they will still do extensive research before purchasing, especially when it comes to eco-friendly products.   

  • 70% of consumers in the US and Canada prefer companies that emphasize preserving the environment and following ethical practices.
  • 57% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impact.
  • 71% of those surveyed who indicated that (product) traceability is very important are willing to pay a premium for brands that provide it. 
  • 41% of purpose-driven consumers seek products and brands that align with their lifestyle and companies with health/wellness benefits (IBM Research Insights).

According to IBM Research, millennials (81%) are leading the charge in sustainability awareness, but every age group indicates that sustainability, environmental, and/or personal wellness attributes are significant considerations in selecting brands. Sustainability considerations in purchasing decisions matter for Gen Z (75%), Gen X (80%), and Boomers (78%). 

Before focusing on external messaging, companies must align sustainability with their values through their internal diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts. A company’s transparency, reporting, and tangible actions on environmental climate justice (check out B Lab’s excellent climate justice playbook) will differentiate a brand and provide a strong foundation for marketing and communications. An important distinction as consumer awareness of greenwashing grows. Here are a few examples of major brands connecting with consumers meaningfully on sustainability issues.

Google released a video in December 2020 about its new Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) tool, available in 100+ cities worldwide. The campaign addressed climate change’s impact on the world, focusing on the benefit of the EIE tool to cities such as Los Angeles, Dublin, Melbourne, and Mexico City.

The campaign provided its consumers with relevant, realistic approaches to mitigate climate change. Google’s EIE data mapping analysis visually provided attainable solutions to the reduction of carbon emissions, the development of sustainable transportation, and the utilization of solar power potential. 

Unilever took a storytelling approach to its “I am a Future Maker” environmental campaign. In the campaign, leaders shared their “how-to” insights to build an effective environmental campaign and business model: 

  • Growing Roots’ founder Tracy Shepard-Rashkin suggested that understanding stakeholder priorities, creating strong allies, and utilizing pre-existing relationships are all important for building a successful sustainable brand. 
  • Cristine Lu of OMO bottles in Brazil emphasized establishing accountability and demonstrating value to build consumer loyalty. 
  • Sonika Malhotra of Love Beauty and Planet noted the importance of having select key decision-makers in your business practice with diversified perspectives.
  • Nina Butler of More Recycling talked about how the economic model of production is not efficient, and companies should move toward a circular economy, serving as an example for other companies and stakeholders.

Instead of simply marketing “sustainability” or “eco-friendly products,” impactful companies go beyond just using the color green in their branding and see the value of implementing sustainability through corporate sustainability initiatives, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics, and overall company values. Marketing sustainability will only be effective if it is authentically and genuinely an extension of the company’s business model.

Author: Trisha Hautéa, Senior Research Analyst at Kindred

Editor: Racquel Joseph, Chief Experience Officer at Kindred

Trisha Hautéa

Published on March 26, 2021