Brand Purpose: Fad or Future

On the 5th January 2017, Unilever published a report based on a survey of 20,000 adults over 5 countries, investigating how important sustainability is to consumers when they’re choosing which brands to buy from. The report’s findings are backed by an independent study from Accenture and Havas media group.

Their results are clear: a third of consumers choose to buy from brands that they believe are doing social or environmental good.

Benefits of a sustainable brand?

One in five of the people surveyed said they would actively choose brands if they made their sustainability credentials clearer on their packaging and in their marketing. This reveals a huge opportunity to increase sales of products if they can be proven as sustainable.

Unilever has also developed a framework to illustrate how making their brands sustainable has increased their success:

  • Driving growth – brands that have integrated sustainability into both their purpose and products, e.g. Ben and Jerry’s, Hellman’s, and Dove, are growing 30% faster than the rest of the business.
  • Lowering cost – Reducing waste and energy use instantly cuts costs.
  • Reducing risk – Protecting supply chains from future environmental problems limits risk for the business.
  • Building trust – consumers, stakeholders and employees value sustainability within brands.

First steps to becoming a sustainable brand?

The simplest robust step is to understand your carbon footprint, and C-Level has recently developed a new super easy and shareable business carbon calculator to get you started. This will show you how much CO2 your business produces and will set a baseline for carbon reduction targets.  For unavoidable CO2 emissions (such as flights that really cannot be switched to video conference), many businesses will then progress to becoming Carbon Balanced through carbon offsetting.

Being Carbon Balanced enables you to compensate for your unavoidable emissions by contributing to projects that are reducing carbon emissions, strengthening ecosystems and building livelihoods. C-Level can connect you to the world’s most holistic carbon projects.

Examples of our carbon offsetting projects include the Mongolian Nomad Project, the Hazda Hunter-Gatherers Project, and our popular CommuniTree Reforestation Project.

How can I communicate my brand purpose?

One effective way to show the positive impact of your business is to create a short film, which will tell your story and the story of the project and community you support. 101 Visions, a service team within C-Level, can distil your vision into a shareable micro-documentary. This will show proof of your sustainability credentials, support expansion of the project you are invested in, and promote your brand as a positive force for environmental and social change.  

An example is the 101 Vision for Source Climate Change Coffee, a Carbon Balanced coffee brand that sources 3 types of cloud forest coffee from small scale producers. Our micro-documentary plays off a QR Code on the packaging.