Navigating the world of sustainability and trust

by | Oct 11, 2022 | News

New Zealand businesses looking for guidance on how to navigate the world of consumers and sustainability can now try the services Kantar. The newly opened Kantar Sustainable Transformation Practice is a local branch of the large global marketing and data analytics company.

Jason Cate, appointed to lead the practice, says nearly 100 per cent of the CEOs of the world’s largest companies believe sustainability is critical to their companies’ future success, but the challenge is moving from ambition to action.

Meanwhile customers are seeking companies and products they can trust.  “The spirit of sustainability is transparency. Product traceability is just a surrogate for trust. Very few people actually wants to trace their lamb cutlet back to the farm it came from – but if people know they can, they will have trust in the product and the company behind it”, says Cate.

Cate says: “There are many barriers to companies going from talking about sustainability to being sustainable in a meaningful way and understanding where consumers values and actions are at is just part of the puzzle. Transforming companies to be sustainable is a hard job. Company executives are under pressure from so many angles, including maintaining short-term profitability and the multiple challenges in transforming how a business operates. We are here to support them with evidence-based advice with consumer data from 80 countries around the world including just about any economy that could be of interest to New Zealand exporters.”

Kantar’s Chief Client Officer Sarah Bolger notes these tensions parallel what is happening to consumers at the same time. “In our last Better Futures Report Kiwis told us it was too much effort to be sustainable. The main barriers to consumers buying sustainable products are time, money, and effort.

“Companies which simply tell the market ‘We’re green’ or preach the value of being sustainable will just make consumers feel bad about themselves because they still face the barriers of time, money, and effort. There are clear examples of large businesses, both overseas and in New Zealand which are walking the talk by making real changes to their business operations by putting sustainability at the heart of their decision making. And these businesses understand that only a small proportion of people will buy a product just because it is sustainable – it needs to be in the right bottle, have the right flavour or consistency. For most consumers, it needs to be all those things first and then also be sustainable”

Bolger also says the rising cost of living has affected people’s sense of being able to make a difference. No matter how hard sustainable transformation is, New Zealand companies need to make the change or risk being left behind. She says, with so many businesses striving to communicate their sustainable credentials, it’s essential to understand how those messages are being received. Cate also recommends companies be honest regarding their own evolution.

Bolger says, “People still want to do the right thing, but the prevailing attitude now is ‘I’ll do it if it’s easy or affordable for me.’ There is a sense of frustration and anger that individuals can’t effect change and that this should be the responsibility of government and big business. Big overseas retailers are looking for evidence our exporters are doing the right thing to build trust with their consumers. If we don’t provide it, we’ll be frozen out. People respond well to displays of vulnerability but also hope. If you tell consumers you are on a journey, they like that.”


Press Release: Kantar

Photo by Alex Hudson on Unsplash


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