Companies now expected to put planet first

People want brands to lead them on a sustainable path, according to research conducted with more than 3,000 adults in the UK, the US and China.

Individuals are now willing to change their lives, make personal sacrifices for the planet with 94 per cent making some effort to live more sustainably (up from 92 per cent in 2018) and 46 per cent are doing “all they can”.

Wunderman Thompson’s Regeneration Rising: Sustainable Futures demonstrates that concerns over the planet and biodiversity remain high despite the dramatic health and economic impacts of the pandemic. On a list of problems, the world faces, people choose climate change as the second biggest threat behind infectious disease, chosen by 41 per cent of respondents (34 per cent in 2018).

“There is no doubt that sustainability has become one of the top corporate priorities in recent years. We increasingly hear from clients that they want their brands to lead the way in creating positive impact, and that their company needs and wants to address sustainability for a better future,” said Neil Dawson, global chief strategy officer.

The pandemic has raised expectations of brands in terms of civic leadership, with 75 per cent saying that business responses to COVID have raised their expectations of them when it comes to helping fight climate change.

Nearly all (89 per cent) believe that companies and brands should do a lot more to reduce their carbon impact, and 88 per cent believe that they have a responsibility to take care of the planet and its people. In all, 82 per cent went so far as to say that companies should put people and planet before profit.

Perhaps most dramatically, 64 per cent of the UK sample would be willing to contribute 0.5 per cent of their annual salary to help solve climate change.

Wunderman Thompson is a part of the WPP agency.

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