Consumers look to brands for guidance

28 October 2011

LONDON: Brand owners in the UK have considerable opportunities to help shoppers overcome uncertainty about which green habits they should adopt, thus potentially driving revenue growth in the process.

IBM, the business services firm, and YouGov, the research group, surveyed more than 2,000 adults in the country to gauge current attitudes covering this area.

Overall, the two companies found that 73% of contributors regarded living sustainably as an issue of personal "importance" to them.

However, a further 36% of participants admitted that they were currently "confused" about the decisions and actions they should, or should not, take in an effort to help the planet.

When assessing where the ultimate responsibility for dealing with climate change rests, a 49% share of respondents believed individuals must take a lead role in encouraging others to act.

Another 25% of consumers suggested that the government should assume the position of providing leadership in tackling sustainability problems.

Elsewhere, a more modest 17% afforded a similar position to businesses, but this figure masked a broader role that companies can play, the IBM study revealed.

For example, 34% of the individuals questioned agreed a "simple idea" provided by a company they already bought products from would make them "more inclined" to pursue eco-friendly habits than if the government put forward the same proposal.

Another 57% of interviewees adopted the equivalent standpoint when discussing the benefits of numerous corporations joining forces to champion green behaviour.

"We believe the imperative for sustainable action is strong and businesses have a real hunger to make a difference," said Stephen Leonard, chief executive of IBM UK and Ireland.

"No one organisation can do this alone and collaborative approaches are now needed to discover new ways for businesses to empower consumers to create a new era of innovation and growth."

Data sourced from IBM; additional content by Warc staff