Consumers sceptical over sustainability claims

UK consumers are much more sceptical of brands efforts to adopt and communicate more sustainable practices than consumers in other territories, according to Havas Media research across ten international territories.

UK consumers are much more sceptical of brands’ efforts to adopt and communicate more sustainable practices than consumers in other territories, according to Havas Media research across ten international territories.

The 33% of UK consumers fell into the “sceptics” category compared to 21% across all markets surveyed, while 25% of those surveyed in the UK fell into the disengaged category.

Only 17% of Brits can be described as “devotees”, or engaged and actively seeking to endorse “progressive” brands, compared to 22% across international markets.

More than half (58%) believe companies only engage in sustainability activity to protect or boost their image, leading to a “clear lack of trust” of brands on an issue that 67% believe business rather than government should be taking a lead.

Havas head of sustainability Guy Champniss says the research shows UK consumers want more than just bland brand reassurances: “People almost want operational detail on how a company is working to be more sustainable, only real authenticity will do,” he says.

Retail and food companies did better in the perception rankings of authentic efforts to address sustainable issues, with Marks & Spencer (pictured), Asda, Tesco and Nestlé scoring highly in the way their sustainability efforts have helped boost the value attached to their brands by consumers.

Household FMCG brands were among the lower scorers, just above the car, oil/petrol and electricity and gas utilities sectors.

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