18 April 2023
At Bauer Media, we recognise that we both respond to and set agendas for the cultural issues of the day. Sustainability is one of the pivotal issues this generation will face and we commit to playing our part in achieving a better future for our planet and its people. Bauer Media approaches this in two ways. Firstly, as a scaled producer, distributor and broadcaster that is responsible for reducing any negative environmental impact of its business operations. Secondly, we have the power to influence audiences, their views and habits and can play our part in the sustainability debate.
For Earth Month, we have carried out new research amongst our audiences to provide up-to-date insights around consumer attitudes and expectations. We use this insight to learn as a business about what our consumers expect and create relevant content, as well as inform our commercial clients and partnerships.
When it comes to the day-to-day lives of consumers, 56% say their concern for sustainability is impacted by the cost-of-living crisis whilst 29% say their concern for sustainability has increased due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
People are still consciously making sustainable choices, with a significant 3/4 agreeing that companies should be penalised for failing to care for the environment. On a personal note, 81% are trying to reduce their household waste and 79% agree that we can now see the effects of climate change globally.
Despite the rising cost challenges of the last year, consumers have also been making more conscious travel decisions, with 41% considering the environmental impact of their travel options and 35% liking to offset their carbon emissions from travel.
30% make supermarket purchase decisions based on sustainability all or most of the time, however, some smaller sustainable efforts in grocery shopping habits have reduced over the last year. Since 2022, making a conscious effort to reduce food waste is down 7% (55%), trying to buy fewer products with plastic packaging is down 3% (49%) and buying more locally sourced products is also down 3% (31%). However, in improved shopping habits our research shows trying new vegetarian or vegan products is up 2% (33%), being more conscious of sustainability accreditation on products is up 2% (18%) and using refill stations is up 3% (9%).
Price (50%) and quality (38%) remain the most important factors when making purchase decisions, with sustainability still taking a distant back seat. Whilst many are willing to pay more for sustainable items, most are only willing to pay up to 10% more.
Although price is the biggest barrier to sustainable living, it is actually down year-on-year and people remain motivated to make small changes. For example, in the next 2 years 40% of consumers want to only use retailers that are sustainably responsibly, 33% want to make eco-focussed lifestyle changes and 29% want to switch to a more renewable energy.
The top expectation consumers have for companies remains sustainable materials, but companies are expected to perform across the full range of sustainable practices. Consumers expect companies to already be minimising their plastic use (53%), educating their staff on sustainability (48%) and be fully transparent about their sustainability (48%). Our research also shows how consumers expect companies to act in the next 2 years, with only sourcing raw materials from sustainable sources coming out as the top priority (51%), followed by only using electric vehicles in the business (49%) and totally eradicating plastic use (48%).
Advertisers need to keep environmental initiatives front of mind, with the top messages for advertising being supporting environmental initiatives and working towards being net carbon neutral, and the top messages for packaging being more recyclable packaging and more information on where items are made.
Transparency is key as consumers struggle to know who to trust, particularly when it comes to sustainability claims. With ‘greenwashing’ on the rise, distrust in companies green credentials has increased across most sectors, particularly for transport, fashion and energy.