Brands need to prove eco credentials or risk losing customers

hearts & science consumer brand eco research

Agencies and advertisers will have to be smarter when it comes to brands’ eco-credentials, as consumers increasingly vote with their wallets in the face of greenwashing, a new survey has found.

Brands and eco credentials

The study, from media agency Hearts & Science, found that more than half of us (52%) are making purchasing decisions based on brands’ eco-credentials. 

One in five (22%) said they regularly choose eco-friendly products over less sustainable equivalents and 48% said they do so sometimes.

Hearts & Science worked with YouGov to canvas 2,000 UK adults for its Forces of Change report into conscious consumerism.

Garrett O’Reilly, managing director of Hearts & Science, said: “There is now a groundswell of support towards sustainability among consumers. If marketers, advertisers and agencies fail to address this, we’re simply not doing our job properly.

“Those within this sector occupy a privileged position as experts in communication and the business of influence. 

“Frankly, governments and NGOs have limited resources compared to the private sector.

“It’s not just about meeting the needs of conscious consumers either. In working with the world’s biggest brands, we should be striving to create new norms that will influence the behaviours of the eco-conscious and climate sceptics alike.”

More than a third of shoppers say they’ve stopped buying a food and drink (36%) and household essentials (33%) brand due to concerns over sustainability. 

Other categories in which significant numbers of consumers take sustainability into account are home electronics (15%), sportswear (12%) and furniture (12%).

Simon Carr, chief strategy officer at Hearts & Science, said: “It’s not just that UK shoppers will choose brands that have the best green credentials – now, they will actively stop buying those that don’t.

“Brands have to demonstrate their concern for the environment and can no longer get away with paying lip service. 

“Savvy consumers want to see evidence that their shopping habits aren’t hurting the world around them, or they’ll go elsewhere.”