Smart brands enlist to fight the war on waste

Melanie Howard

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the environment, and sustainability is becoming the mantra for brand longevity, says Melanie Howard

CHANCES ARE that you are one of the large majority of the UK population who would agree with one of the Future Foundation's longest-running proprietary survey questions: ‘I am personally concerned to do what I can to help the environment'. As we have responses to this statement going back more than 25 years, during which time the proportion agreeing has more than doubled, we can predict with some confidence that such attitudes will continue to represent the mainstream of British society for the foreseeable future.

Environmental concern has shown a classic long-term trajectory of a value-led trend from counter-cultural minority – what could be more radical than rejecting the choice and freedom of the consumer society in 1960s America? – to being the norm. Nowadays it may be more instructive to think about why the minority don't agree since this group now represent the counter-cultural minority, although not one that we believe will grow. The failure of the scientific community to agree on what constitutes incontrovertible evidence, and lack of clear guidance on the best ways to act to avert global warming, may be part of that story. But it also represents the heart of the challenge to the majority who do want to act.