Brands told to get green or go home
Consumers are demanding brands take a stronger stance on environmental issues and sustainability, and to do it through advertising, according to new research from IPG Mediabrands’ investment and intelligence arm, Magna.
The company collaborated with global media platform Teads and non-profit Project Drawdown on the survey, with over 9,000 respondents from Australia, the UK and US.
78% of Australians see sustainability as important, and 75% want to see companies take better stances on the issue, as the study shows consumers are increasingly looking to businesses leading in the space.
Companies across industries are being urged to take meaningful action – especially in the oil and gas manufacturing industry.
“As governments, NGOs, businesses and individuals grapple with climate action, we can take heart that the majority of people surveyed – across multiple markets and demographics – agree that living more sustainably aligns with their personal values,” said IPG Mediabrands’ global chief sustainability officer, Martin Bryan.
“Among the key barriers to climate action we uncovered in our research is that people aren’t sure their actions can make a difference – and they fear that a sustainable lifestyle is cost-prohibitive and inconvenient.”
Mediabrands Australia’s sustainability lead, Ros Allison, added: “This research shows that Australians have aligned fast with global counterparts, in both recognising the climate emergency and in looking to business to lead in systems-level change for a sustainable economy.
“Marketing and media now have a mandate to create new value in a regenerative economy, and help brands in better service of people and planet.”
A quarter of Australians surveyed said brands also need to be more authentic in their sustainability communications due to greenwashing and greenhushing. According to the research, brands that offer tangible, relevant data in advertising can build consumer trust and brand alignment.
The study found that advertising was the optimal channel for consumers receiving sustainability messaging, at 66%, followed by social media accounts at 62%, newsletters at 57% and influencers and other brand representatives at 52%.
“Sustainability practices are good for business, with innovation, transparency, and information key for brands to strengthen their customer relationships long-term,” said Teads’ senior vice president, strategy and insights, Neala Brown.
“While brands should ease customer hesitations toward adopting a sustainable lifestyle and given advertising as an optimal channel for that messaging, we are simultaneously working with our brand partners to reduce their own digital carbon footprint with supply chain and media optimisation via direct publisher relationships.”