3 Major Sustainability Trends

Below you will find three trends that are important to have in mind as you decide upon your Sustainable Branding strategy. Read more in the official reports from Sustainable Brand Index 2015. NOTE: this post is about the Swedish market only.

 

1. THE RESULT IN SB INDEX STABILIZES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 5 YEARS

 

For the first time since the study started in 2011, the result of SB Index stabilizes
When the overall ranking of 2015 is compared with last year´s, only small differences can be seen:

•Mean score difference in total 2014-2015: -1.5 %

•Mean score difference in industry 2014-2015: from –4 % to +3 %

The development depends on the fact that the market seems to have reached a plateau
Earlier, sustainability was something new and consumers’ frame of reference unclear. Now, consumers start to become more used to sustainability in the context of brands and therefore less volatile in their perception of the brands. This results in a stabilization of the market.

 

2. BRANDS WITH SUBSTANCE ADVANCE, TRADITIONALLY STRONG BRANDS STEP BACK

 

Many of the brands that have climbed up the list of this year's SB Index have a clear profile or sustainability substance
For instance, Apoteket, Systembolaget, Telge Energi and KPA Pension increase their score this year. At the same time, more traditionally strong brands (from a general perspective) drop on the list. For example Wasabröd, Toyota and Skånetrafiken. We move towards a time where a company can’t survive on a traditionally strong brand, specific products or just belonging to a “good” industry. Consumers start to request substance and clarity.

The Development is driven by both companies and consumers
The reason for this is combination of a clearer positioning and more communication from some companies. This accelerates overall consumer demand. Also, consumers are more open to information,and in many cases also searching for it actively. Nowadays, sustainability is included in the frame of reference in the consumer’s judgment and the radar is turned on. Thus, this development is driven by both parties (company and consumer), which is positive.

 

3. MANY BRANDS ARE STILL TOO HOLLOW

A majority of the brands have low ranking points
At the same time as brands with substance and a clear position within sustainability are moving forward, there is still a majority of brands that have low ranking points. If we look at how the points are distributed within the ranking, we can see that there is an even allocation of brands from the bottom of the list up to 30th place. From here, the brands’ points start to increase considerably for each place up the list. Between the brands on 1st and 30th place, there is equal much difference as between 31th and 252th place, more specifically 40 percentage point.

 

Outside top 30, brands are, to a large extent, still hollow or unclear from a sustainability perspective. In order to have sustainability drive and strengthen the brand, the brand must reach a certain level.

Erik Heden

XXX, 11 Gamla Brogatan, Stockholm, Stockholms län, 11120, Sweden