Nursery Blog


Our research - they say it matters

When put on the spot, consumers will tell us they are ‘signed up’ for sustainable businesses. We spoke to 1000 consumers of whom

And the motivation is driven most strongly by factors relating to sense of self:

67% claim to feel more positive about themselves when buying from sustainable brands

And even 54% agreed that buying from sustainable brands was a form of self-care.

And there is of course kudos associated with buying sustainably that can also enhance that sense of self-worth.

Brands and Sustainability

So we know there is a consumer appetite for brands to deliver sustainable initiatives. How well are they doing it?

We started by looking broadly at the types of sustainability that best fitted different industries.

There were no surprises but some handy reminders – before brands launch into planting trees it is worth asking the question – how does that fit with my brand?

Pick your sustainability was a clear message – those closest to food & drink or leaving a significant carbon footprint – automotive, travel and tourism – have a duty of care to have a view on the environment, e.g. re-useable cups and wooden cutlery.

For financial services and technology there was an expectation the focus should switch more to social responsibility – putting something back into the communities they serve.

So we then wanted to see which sustainability initiatives most readily came to mind – of all the brands investing in any one of the three pillars which had the highest profile.

We presented consumers with a list of sustainability initiatives that brands had actively promoted and asked consumers the simple question –name that brand. We tried it for three different product categories – Automotive, Finance, Travel and Tourism. 12 – 15 initiatives, 12 – 15 brands in each category to choose from. Surely some consumers would get lucky if they tried to guess?

Well apparently not.

Here are the gory details:

 Brand  Responsible
 % consumers  getting it right
 Become a carbon neutral airport by 2020

 50% of journeys made to our airport will be made by  public and sustainable transport by 2030

 We provide public bikes to busy city centres reducing  the subsidy on public funds, avoiding air pollution and  greenhouse emissions

 We provide public bikes to busy city centres reducing  the subsidy on public funds, avoiding air pollution and  greenhouse emissions

 For every customer who books a holiday with us, we  donate £1 per adult and 50p per child to invest back  into community and environmental projects in our  holiday destinations

 Everything else

 4% or less
 Most famous Automotive initiative -
 Our challenge is to reduce the CO2 emissions from our  new vehicles by 90% by 2050


So What do Brands Need to Consider?

96% of people feel their own actions, such as donating, recycling or buying ethically, can make a difference

54% believe that they personally can make a big difference in the world.

This is great news as the need for ‘sustainable lifestyles’ has become an imperative.

In their detailed scientific report on the state of climate change in October, the United Nations body, the IPCC called for everyone to eat less meat, save energy and car-share. For the first time, the global public were given an official role in the huge political effort to solve climate change thus paving the way for brands to lead the revolution and act as role models. It would seem that if your brand isn’t helping your consumers improve their environmental and social footprint, then you’re in danger of disappointing 88% of them!

So brands need to leverage NPD and marketing activity to highlight sustainability and ensure they provide consumers with opportunities to do the same. Whilst consumers don’t remember exactly what companies are doing in the area of sustainability, they know and care whether companies and brands are committed to a sustainable future.

David Alterman


The Nursery Research & Planning