A study by purpose giant Unilever surveyed 20,000 adults from five countries about their brand preferences relating to social and environmental impact. It then mapped their claims against real purchase decisions, providing a more accurate picture of what people are buying and why.
The study found:
- 33% of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good.Unilever study: 33% of consumers buy from brands doing social or environmental good Click To Tweet
- An estimated $1.2 trillion opportunity exists for brands that make their sustainability credentials clearUnilever study: An est. $1.2 trillion opportunity exists for brands that make their #sustainability credentials clear Click To Tweet
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. Unilever study: 21% of consumers would choose brands if #sustainability packaging/marketing was clearer Click To Tweet
According to the study, this represents a potential untapped opportunity of €966 billion (about $1.2 trillion USD) out of a €2.5 trillion total market (about $3 trillion USD) for sustainable goods.
Unilever also shared that, of its hundreds of brands, those such as Dove, Hellmann’s and Ben & Jerry’s, that have integrated sustainability into both their purpose and products delivered nearly half the company’s global growth in 2015. Collectively, they are also growing 30% faster than the rest of the business. Unilever's #purpose brands @Dove @BenandJerrys @Hellmanns growing 30% faster than rest of business Click To Tweet
The study also suggests that the trend for purpose-led purchasing is greater among consumers in emerging economies than in developed markets. While 53% of shoppers in the UK and 78% in the US say they feel better when they buy products that are sustainably produced, that number rises to 88% in India and 85% in both Brazil and Turkey.
Keith Weed, Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer says,
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This research confirms that sustainability isn’t a nice-to-have for businesses. In fact, it has become an imperative. 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. Instead, they must act quickly to prove their social and environmental credentials and show consumers they can be trusted with the future of the planet and communities, as well as their own bottom lines.