Where we emerged from COP26 hopeful that the 1.5 C remained within reach, this year’s COP27, set against the backdrop of war, rampant inflation, and political instability, has been more muted.
What perhaps sets 2022 apart from past economic downturns is that sustainable business models and products are increasingly being seen as more of a help than a hindrance.
However, interest in sustainably remains resilient despite the practical and mental squeeze on households and businesses. According to our newly launched Sustainability Segmentation report, climate change, economic inequality and workers’ rights are key points of concern.
What perhaps sets 2022 apart from past economic downturns is that sustainable business models and products are increasingly being seen as more of a help than a hindrance. Strong interest in second-hand clothing, energy saving, solar panels, and electric vehicles underlines how living more sustainably can go hand-in-hand with coping with the cost-of-living crisis.
In the UK, US, and Canada one in five (19%) adults have boycotted a brand or product to promote sustainability. At Savanta, we’re passionate about making sustainability a key part of business competitiveness and resilience – here are three ways we’re helping organisations make better decisions in the face of uncertainty:
1. Understanding your audience in a changing landscape
Two in five (41%) consumers in our Sustainability Segmentation report say they are concerned about climate change, but this figure represents individuals with a variety of motivations, capabilities and opportunities to live more sustainably. High-quality data is at the heart of great decision-making, and the scale of Savanta’s audience access allows our clients to get closer to the consumers, businesses and policymakers that matter.
Our proprietary Sustainability Segmentation is led by behavioural science and uses established frameworks to score real-world intentions and behaviours across key sectors. The detailed report highlights say-do gaps across key segments according to their potential impact on climate change (see below) and shows brands how they can turn good intentions into sustainable buying behaviours.
2. Inspiring and communicating compelling propositions
We all need to move from seeing sustainable lifestyles as a sacrifice (financial, or otherwise) to seeing it as a shared benefit, and from premium to mass market. Businesses have a vital role in creating the propositions that will facilitate this transition. Savanta is dedicated to helping clients build, test, refine, and measure new launches with confidence.
For example, we supported a leading multinational soft drinks manufacturer in navigating sustainability as consumers become increasingly selective about which brands they buy from. In conjunction with desk research, trends analysis, social media and text analytics our proprietary Behaviour Change Modelling enabled our client to understand which proposed solutions should be tested and developed further, with insights feeding directly into their corporate responsibility commitments.
3. Driving meaningful change, bottom-up and top-down
No matter how compelling the proposition, consumers will still need persuading to adopt lower carbon lifestyles. By integrating behavioural science into our research, we make sure to not only shed light on what people think but how people think. Change is already happening from the bottom up. Our daily brand tracker, BrandVue, highlights that ambitious sustainability initiatives were common across this year’s top five most loved brands in the UK.
Top down, regulatory and policy change is also vital, and we are supporting our clients to develop innovative policy ideas and supporting campaigns. In the summer, our research for BECG and Cavendish Advocacy found that only a third of UK Conservative MPs indicated they would make Net Zero a campaign issue on the doorsteps.
Savanta’s research has been helping to make a case for change, be it through keeping sustainability top of the agenda through our regular polling featured in the Independent or the Financial Times, or providing robust evidence to public and private sector organisations such as The Kings Policy Institute, the Civil Aviation Authority, the RSA, Vodafone, and Oracle to drive policy change.