A new consumer research report has highlighted “brand peer pressure” and technological innovation as critical to push forward sustainable behaviour among both shoppers and businesses. The new report, conducted by a team of behavioural change and sustainability experts, also puts forward a range of recommendations, among them reminding consumers that “they are not alone when it comes to making sustainable choices”.
Released by the British tech-for-good app developer 3 Sided Cube on Monday (March 8), the Igniting A Green Revolution report provides insights into what could help drive and accelerate sustainable brand and consumer behaviour, as well as the role of technology as a tool to promote climate-friendly habits. The research draws on nationally representative data, statistics from a survey recently conducted by 3 Sided Cube, and public information obtained from the U.K. government Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
One of the key findings from the report highlights the effectiveness of brand peer pressure on businesses to green their operations, suggesting that in addition to financial incentives, companies can be pushed to make more sustainable changes due to moral reasons and pressure from their industry rivals and competitors. According to the analysts, if more waste reduction, reuse and emission reduction initiatives and campaigns are celebrated by governments, other businesses and wider society, it is more likely that companies will “wake up to their responsibilities to become more sustainable”.
Reprimanding people doesn’t work if we want to reach a mass audience. We have to ‘nudge’ consumer and brand behaviour towards greener choices. Technology is one of the best tools we have to make this happen.Richard Strachan, Managing Director, 3 Sided Cube
Another “igniting” factor to push forward sustainable change is technology, which the report describes as a “crucial tool” when it comes to consumers. Based on 3 Sided Cube’s previous survey data indicating that the majority of shoppers are motivated to live more sustainable lives and are demanding digital tools to help them make such changes, the research believes that tech innovation will enable “smarter, greener decisions” and “help consumers see how they are part of a growing community focused on green issues”.
Commenting on the findings, managing director of 3 Sided Cube, Richard Strachan, said: “Reprimanding people doesn’t work if we want to reach a mass audience. We have to ‘nudge’ consumer and brand behaviour towards greener choices. Technology is one of the best tools we have to make this happen.”
Among some of the key issues that consumers are concerned about when it comes to the sustainability of brands and their products, which highlights potential opportunities for companies to pioneer change, includes non-recyclable packaging materials, and complex rules regarding the different components of a product and how to recycle them.
We wanted to uncover the key factors affecting our behaviour as consumers and brands when it comes to sustainability.Richard Strachan, Managing Director, 3 Sided Cube
From the businesses’ perspective, the report finds that while they recognise their responsibility to take climate action, the “lack of government financial support” and “lack of clear government guidance for transitioning towards recyclable materials” remain key barriers to making sustainable changes – pointing to the significant role that governments must play in supporting corporate environmental leadership.
Recommendations made to impact changes at the consumer level include showing consumers that sustainable lifestyles are “increasing in popularity every day”, because shoppers have indicated a greater likelihood to follow through with actions if they believe they are part of a broad trend made up of many individuals.
Strachan believes that these insights will provide both companies, consumers, NGOs and public bodies with more direction when it comes to accelerating mass sustainability behavioural shifts.
“The climate crisis, ecological destruction and ongoing problems with plastic waste are global issues that can’t be ignored. We must tackle them head on…That is why we have developed this report. We wanted to uncover the key factors affecting our behaviour as consumers and brands when it comes to sustainability,” explained Strachan.
“We look forward to driving meaningful behaviour change in response to them, whether that’s through technological innovation, collaboration with other organisations or developing new research to share with [the] media.”
Lead image courtesy of Nature Hub via Medium.