81% of consumers in APAC agree that demonstrating a commitment to sustainability adds value to the brand. Consumers expect action, not empty promises, from brands on sustainability
Brands have seen 18 months of constant flux with Covid-19 creating economic instability across the globe. But as countries slowly open up and businesses start to get back into the office we can see this recovery is coinciding with a pivotal time in the fight against climate change. Consumers are becoming ever more aware of their choices and the expectations and standards they hold brands to.
To address this shift in consumer sentiment BBC Global News conducted two waves of surveys to obtain in-depth insights into how consumers in APAC and across the globe really feel towards sustainability, focusing on three different sectors – automotive, technology and finance.
The results across the board show that APAC consumers care not only about what your business says but about what it does:
81% agree that clearly demonstrating a commitment to sustainability adds value to a brand
79% say sustainable practices and commitments are an important consideration when making purchase decisions
68% are happy to pay more for brands with strong sustainability and eco-friendly practices
57% say they would stop buying a product they were previously loyal to if they discovered it was not committed to sustainability
On average, for the 27 brands surveyed across three sectors, around half of all consumers said they are not aware of the brand's sustainability practices– with finance ranking by far the highest with 63% of all consumers not being aware of financial brands’ sustainability practices. The research showed that consumers believe that it’s important for all brands’ sustainability practices to involve education and research. 83% of consumers believe that brands should invest in education about the importance of sustainability and 79% agree that brands should be financing research for sustainable practices.
The research shows that, for consumers across the region, brand trust is still seen as the most important brand association, indexing particularly high in the automotive and technology sectors at 87% and 83% respectively, with finance scoring 63%.
The research also reveals that 66% of those surveyed said that interviews with an international news partner are the most influential way for consumers to learn about a brand’s CSR, followed by branded content within a premium environment (39%). These are techniques brands can leverage to help deliver their sustainability message to consumers at scale.
Alistair McEwan, Senior Vice President Commercial Development, BBC Global News, APAC said: “These results demonstrate the importance that consumers place on a brand’s sustainability credentials and show that they are willing to use their wallets to make their feelings known. For brands to retain loyalty from their customers, they need to be absolutely clear about their commitment to taking action. Those that fail to do so open themselves to criticism , so it is vital that brands shape their narrative and communicate their message in a transparent and authentic way and working with trusted storytellers like the BBC will enable that.”
Last year, in response to growing audience interest in sustainability, the BBC launched Future Planet – a home for in-depth, evidence-based stories on potential solutions addressing the pressing environmental challenges around the world.
Future Planet was the first major online publication with a sole focus on climate change that also aims to be as close to zero carbon as possible. From the site’s launch in February 2020 to June 2021, its total carbon emissions from travel were just 857kg – that’s less than a single flight from New York to Berlin.
Future Planet is currently sponsored by Hyundai. As part of the deal, BBC StoryWorks - the commercial content studio of BBC Global News – created a branded content film highlighting Hyundai’s partnership with the ocean conservation organisation, Healthy Seas, to combat ocean pollution, nurture sustainable marine ecosystems and support a circular economy. The content was produced sustainably, by driving electrified vehicles from London to Greece instead of flying, choosing to consume vegan meals and using solar power to charge equipment.
BBC News is consistently named the world’s most trusted international news brand, according to the BBC Brand Tracker study. This reputation rubs off on brands - 'trustworthy' is ranked as the #1 characteristic for brands associated with the BBC, a quarter say brands that advertise on the BBC are likely to be seen as ‘responsible,’ and one in five say they are associated with being ‘authentic.’