People are increasingly concerned about the environment, with a majority of UK consumers claiming to reject brands whose environmental reputation falls short of their expectations.

This is according to new research from Kantar, who asked 1,200 UK consumers about their concerns surrounding the response of business to the now widely acknowledged climate emergency.

Simply put, over 70% of UK consumers agree that businesses’ response to tackling the environmental crisis is “too little, too late”; among younger respondents, 78% agreed with the statement. An overwhelming 90% said that companies should take greater responsibility for the waste they produce.

While at the wide, abstract level, it was always going to be likely that consumers expect more from brands, at the level of individual action, people are more willing to boycott brands: 77% of respondents said they had switched, avoided or boycotted buying certain products based on a brand’s sustainability and environmental policies, or might consider doing so.  At particular risk are clothes brands – part of a sector marred with large amounts of waste.

It is, however, important to note that the question here was broad-based, looking at consumers’ view of a brand’s sustainability and environmental policies, such as their stand on harsh working conditions, environmental pollution and overuse of packaging. Among younger, 16- to 24-year-old respondents, the proportion agreeing rose to 87%.

Plastics are a key source of worry, with 53% of respondents ranking the overuse of plastic packaging among their top three concerns; and, interestingly, it was the 45-64 segment of the survey that worried most about this.

Older audiences are also keen to see brands taking more responsibility for the waste their products create and their impact on the environment. As many as 92% of over-65s agreed, though this sentiment was very strong (over 85%) across all age groups, Kantar says.

“Consumers now expect businesses to be driven by some direction other than simply making a profit. These values are fast becoming key assets in helping boost brand value whilst projecting a positive corporate image, and by doing so businesses can demonstrate a clear sense of purpose,” commented Mark Chamberlain, managing director of Brand, Kantar UK.

“This is what consumers are now looking for in today’s brands, and this preference will only intensify as the next generation comes of age. Purpose-led brands enjoy stronger growth and a deeper connection with consumers with such positioning proving to be a key driver of marketing success.”

Sourced from Kantar