Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 22, 2010 11:00 AM
Corporate sustainability isn't something consumers necessarily think a lot about when they purchase a branded product, but a new survey suggests it influences a brand's "meaningfulness" in the mind of a consumer.
The more sustainable the brand is perceived to be, the more meaningful it becomes to consumers, according to results of the just-released second annual Brand Sustainable Futures report, published by Havas Media and MPG. The results are based on an online survey of 30,000 consumers in 9 countries.
Survey results indicated that IKEA received the best "Brand Sustainable Futures Quotient," while L'Oreal was one of the brands with the largest improvements from last year. Home Depot is perceived as "the most meaningful and sustainable" brand by U.S. consumers, followed by Kraft and Google.
When it comes to attitudes towards sustainability, it differs significantly by country.
For example, the survey revealed that, compared with consumers in such countries as Brazil, China, and Mexico, consumers in the U.S. lag in their concern about sustainability; in fact, only 5% of U.S. consumers "always consider" environmental/social aspects when making purchase decisions.
According to the survey, "confusion, lack of clarity and perceived higher prices prevent responsible purchasing in more than half of the consumers questioned; in the U.S., price is the main barrier to buying responsible products." Bottom line: Being a responsible buyer is nice — but not if it costs too much.
Globally, however, consumers definitely show concern about companies and their brands. About 80% of respondents think "companies must act responsibly" and 76% said businesses, not governments, "should deal with environmental and social issues." Sadly, only about a third of brands were considered "meaningful" by consumers.