Saying vs Doing Sutainability
Saying vs Doing Sutainability. With convenience and price already trumping purchase decisions, the gap between what people say and what people do when it comes to sustainability will be larger this year than in the past. For brands investing in sustainable initiatives, their claims must be more credible than ever to have an impact on purchases. In order to gain people’s trust, empower and inform to help them make small changes themselves, especially because this helps dispel the idea that environmentally positive behavior is only for the wealthy. Second, acknowledge imperfections and promote net improvements. Third, demonstrate that caring is cool.
This trend originates from the report:
OMD - Signals 2023
This creates a paradox between what brands say and do, much like with consumers. This phenomenon has been noticed and named ‘greenwashing’. It is turning consumers off brands and their sustainability communications.
Sustainability has grown in importance – yet, over half of consumers don’t believe claims from brands. 50% of respondents think sustainability is a status symbol for brands. 72% believe each of us has a personal responsibility to act in a sustainable way.
63% believe brands should play an active role in solving world issues (e.g., climate change, health crisis, etc.
). 56% state they are aware of the negative impact technology has on the environment. 55% would like access to more information about how brands make and transport their products.
32% claim to always choose the most sustainable option, regardless of price. 12% claim they trust what brands say about their environmental policies and carbon footprint. 34% claim they will always buy new forms of technology without hesitation, even though they know it’s bad for the environment.
39% claim they research the best product for the environment before making a purchase. Key Considerations: People believe it’s a personal responsibility to act sustainability – over brands and governments. Despite people’s sustainability values, the rising cost of living is going to impact how much they can buy sustainable products.
The majority of people don’t believe brands’ suitability claims. Consider how your brand can gain people’s trust from being more transparent or offering them simple actions. For brands the implications are: First, to empower and inform consumers to help them make small changes.
Help consumers to understand how they can make a difference in the battle against climate change at an individual level and help them feel empowered to act. This should dispel the notion that environmentally-responsible behaviour is only accessible to the wealthy, and champion a form of sustainable inclusivity that gives everyone a chance to make a difference. Make sure it’s simple for customers to do and understand.
Second, to acknowledge imperfections and promote net improvements. Almost every activity, particularly in business, has a carbon impact. Whilst businesses and consumers will never be able to completely erase their carbon footprint, we can improve our net output.
Brands that acknowledge this, that are upfront and honest about their environmental efforts, will avoid the pitfalls of greenwashing as well as having a more positive impact on the planet. This can help position the consumption of your brand as a genuinely positive act rather than one that risks damaging not just the environment but also a customer’s social status. And third, to Demonstrate that caring is cool.
Capitalize and reinforce the link between environmentally-friendly behavior and social status, which is expected to grow stronger in the years to come. Using the behavioral science phenomenon of social proof, brands can embed the idea that environmentally-friendly behaviors are socially acceptable and the norm, which undermines the idea that making changes to help the environment comes at a financial and social cost..