Taking on the challenge. The modern landscape for sustainable brands

Consumers are paying closer and closer attention to companies’ environmental and social impact. This phenomenon is particularly prominent in the millennial generation who are quickly making up the majority of the consumer market. Faced with a growing catalogue of evidence towards this point, an ever greater number of companies are taking up the challenge to adopt a focus on sustainability

Thomas Kolster, author of the book Goodvertising or Raphael Bemporad, speakers at this year’s Sustainable Brands Barcelona, will show how leading brands are rapidly realising that future growth, even future relevance or existence depends on embracing sustainability. Some companies, even though the facts clearly show a growing consumer desire for social and environmental responsibility in business, are still reluctant to make a change, citing arguments like, «My consumers don’t care about sustainability» or «Consumers don’t want to pay more for sustainability». As Mr. Kolster has pointed out, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility polled over 30,000 consumers in 60 different countries. According to the results 55% of customers are willing to pay more for products and services from brands committed to positive environmental and social responsibility.

More that 50% of the people surveyed by Nielsen indicated that they had purchased a product or service from a company with a focus on sustainability within the last six months, and over 50% said that they would regularly check labels on products for signs of positive environmental and social impact before making a purchase.

It appears that far from not caring about sustainability and not wanting to pay more for it, the modern consumer is looking at environmental and social sustainability as a motivator, an indicator upon which to make purchasing decisions. The above is most notable among millennial (those ages between 21 – 34) who represent 51% of these consumers motivated by sustainability.

Arguments about the viability and demand for sustainable business are increasingly becoming drowned out by the evidence of a real desire for social and environmental responsibility. In a research paper by Universidad Pontificia Comillas and Nielsen Spain, «El mercado de las marcas sostenibles en España» (The market of sustainable brands in Spain) authors show that in Spain alone the market for sustainable brands was worth 210 million Euros in 2014. More to the point, this sector is experiencing growth 9 times greater than the average portfolio of products and services.

Moving forward, brands that want to be competitive in this modern business landscape will have to embrace sustainability or risk being left behind as the market moves on without them.



Sustainable Brands Barcelona will take place next May. Sustainable Sunday (May 22nd) at CosmoCaixa and the professional meetings (May 23rd & 24th) at IESE business school. Tickets are already on sale. Don’t miss the special prices!

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