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Nielsen releases 2022 Brand Sustainability Report

4 minute read | November 2022

Nielsen’s inaugural Brand Sustainability Report reveals Australian consumer perceptions of the sustainability efforts of leading brands

After months of focused research, Nielsen has released its first independent Brand Sustainability Report, which ranks how Australian consumers perceive the
sustainability efforts of 247 leading brands*.

The Report shows that the top three brands, viewed most favourably by consumers for their sustainability efforts are:

  1. Thankyou
  2. Tesla
  3. Weet-Bix

With support from Dentsu, AANA, and EDGE Environment, Nielsen’s Brand Sustainability Report provides an industry-recognised assessment standard to rate the effectiveness of a brand’s sustainability communication efforts.

The first-of-its-kind assessment weighs consumer sentiment against a brand’s sustainability communication, allowing marketers and advertisers to more effectively communicate their sustainability intentions in line with the expectations of their customers.

Key findings
In addition to consumer sentiment rankings for sustainability across 18 categories, the Report found that, for consumers, a combination of environmental sustainability and social sustainability is required to influence brand reputation.

The Report also found that consumer perception of a brand’s sustainability credentials (favourable or unfavourable) is most likely a reflection of sustainability messaging, with just 38% of consumers able to recall sustainability information in brand advertising or corporate communications.

Monique Perry, Nielsen Pacific Managing Director said, “Sustainability is increasingly at the heart of a brand business strategy and this report highlights that the considerable efforts made by brands don’t always align with consumer perceptions. A great opportunity exists for our amazing media and creative leaders to engage consumers on the brands they love, and the sustainability efforts in progress.

Andrew Palmer, Nielsen Head of Media Analytics Australia, said, “What this research clearly shows is that brands are not an island. Good or bad, consumer perceptions of a brand’s sustainability initiatives have a category-wide impact. If consumers perceive a particular brand in a category favourably, that ‘halo effect’ flows through the whole sector. Conversely, it can go the other way. This study helps brands ensure they’re either driving, or benefiting from that halo effect.”

Highlighting the importance of an industry-wide measure for sustainability, AANA CEO, Josh Faulks said, “Community expectations around sustainability are changing as consumers increasingly want to know the substance behind environmental and social claims. A top priority for AANA is helping brands effectively communicate how they are making the difficult transition to a low carbon future. Understanding how consumers perceive the sustainability efforts of brands is an important part of the conversation and we welcome the initiative of Nielsen in this Australian-first research. Building confidence in sustainability claims, and the standards that govern them, will be crucial in creating trust with the community and rewarding brands that are investing in a sustainable future.”

Angela Tangas, CEO of dentsu ANZ commented, “Consumer sentiment towards, and expectations of, brands has shifted. People are increasingly wanting to know more about where their products come from and how they’re made, and are choosing brands that can provide this level of transparency. At dentsu, we have committed to helping 1 billion people worldwide make better, more sustainable choices over the next decade. As an agency partner, this means using our influence to help our clients become better corporate citizens and support them in finding meaningful ways to grow their business. We’re looking forward to working alongside a diverse group of organisations on a study aimed at measuring the gap between a brand’s sustainability efforts and consumer awareness, and uncover insights that will facilitate change with Australian advertisers”.

Hannah Turner, Edge Environment, Principal Consultant, Sustainability Leadership and Transformation said, “When we consider that the current rate of change has failed to halt the negative effects of climate change. It’s crucial that brands understand the value that sustainability brings. Our work with Nielsen provides brands with the necessary insights into consumers’ perceptions and purchase intent, enabling them to better communicate their sustainability intent. This report outlines the benefits of credibly and authentically communicating sustainability commitments. Because long-term change requires us to combine science, strategy, and storytelling”.

*The Brand Sustainability Report measures consumer perceptions of a company or brand’s sustainability efforts. The findings are not a reflection of a company’s actual commitment to sustainability.

Contact
Dan Chapman
Associate Director, Marketing & Communications, Pacific, Nielsen
dan.chapman@nielsen.com
0404 088 462