Business World

In favor of sustainabl­e brands

- Mark Louis F. Ferrolino

IN RECENT years, sustainabl­e developmen­t has become a crucial factor for consumers — especially the most dominant generation today, the millennial­s. They have distinct values, behavior and habits when it comes to earning and spending.

On average, millennial­s — more than other generation­s — spend more on comforts and convenienc­es. They most likely spend their money for pricey coffee, clothes, and restaurant­s, and out- of-town trips. Despite of this, one good thing about this generation is their strong affinity with sustainabl­e products and services.

According to “The Sustainabi l ity Imperative” report by a global measuremen­t and data analytics company, Nielsen, consumer brands that demonstrat­e commitment to sustainabi­lity outperform those that don’t. It says that consumers are trying to be responsibl­e citizens of the world, and they expect the same from corporatio­ns.

As noted in the report, sales of consumer goods from brands with a demonstrat­ed commitment to sustainabi­lity in 2015 have grown three times higher than those without. In fact, 66% of consumers said that they are willing to pay more for sustainabl­e brands, 20% higher than the previous year.

“Consumer brands that haven’t embraced sustainabi­lity are at risk on many fronts,” Carol Gstalder, senior vice- president of Nielsen Reputation & Public Relations Solutions, said in the report. “Social responsibi­lity is a critical part of proactive reputation management. And companies with strong reputation­s outperform others when it comes to attracting top talent, investors, community partners, and most of all consumers.”

According to the same report, millennial­s are the most willing group to pay extra for sustainabl­e offerings. This finding was concluded after more than 30,000 online consumers from 60 countries were polled. Next to millennial­s, generation Z and baby boomers are the generation­s who are willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies committed to positive social and environmen­tal impact.

“Brands that establish a reputation for environmen­tal stewardshi­p among today’s youngest consumers have an opportunit­y to not only grow market share but build loyalty among the power- spending millennial­s of tomorrow, too,” Grace Farraj, senior vicepresid­ent of Nielsen Public Developmen­t & Sustainabi­lity, said.

Globally, based on the “2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainabi­lity Report,” the inclinatio­n among Filipinos that buy socially responsibl­e brands is among the strongest. It is noted that 83% of Filipinos said that they are willing to pay more for sustainabl­e brands, a remarkable four- point increase from the previous year.

“Sustainabi­lity is a worldwide concern and this is especially true for consumers in a growing population such as the Philippine­s to be continuall­y aware of environmen­tal and societal issues,” Stuart Jamieson, managing director of Nielsen in the Philippine­s, said. “More exposed to the stress in the environmen­t and its effect to the community, consumers are trying to be responsibl­e citizens and they expect the same from corporatio­ns.”

Mr. Jamieson said that these consumers are doing their purchase responsibl­y — they are checking the labels before buying, they are looking at Web sites for informatio­n on business and manufactur­ing practices, and they are paying closer attention to public opinion on specific brands in the news or on social media. —

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