Unilever: Sustainability Matters to Consumers in Emerging Markets


Sustainability is something that consumers and beauty brands alike have been paying attention to for the past several years. In fact, sustainability is considered to be a critical element of brand identity.

A recent study done by Unilever confirms what a lot of brands already know: 33% of consumers chose to buy from brands that they believe are doing social or environmental good.

The study surveyed 20,000 from five different countries including the United Kingdom (UK), Brazil, Turkey, the United States (Us) and India, about their sustainability concerns and how they impact their choices in-store and at home.

The Results

  • 21% of the people surveyed said they would actively choose brands if they made sustainability credentials clearer on packaging and marketing

The trend for purpose-led purchasing is greater in emerging economies

  • 53% in the UK and 78% in the US said they would feel better about buying products that are sustainably produced, while Brazil and Turkey were at 85% and India was at 88%

India, Brazil and Turkey, which fall into the emerging markets category, perhaps feel stronger about sustainability due to direct exposure of unsustainable business practices, such as water and energy shortages as well as food poverty and poor air quality. While countries such as the US and the UK feel more from social scrutiny.

Keith Weed, chief marketing and communications officer for Unilever, said, “This research confirms that sustainability isn’t a nice-to-have for businesses. In fact, it has become an imperative. To succeed globally, and especially in emerging economies across Asia, Africa and Latin America, brands should go beyond traditional focus areas like product performance and affordability. Instead, they must act quickly to prove their social and environmental credentials and show consumers they can be trusted with the future of the planet and communities, as well as their own bottom lines.”

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