Published 1 month ago.
About a 4 minute read.
Image: Viktoria Slowikowska
A new study by Magna, Teads and Project Drawdown confirms consumers are relying on brands to create a clear, tangible and compelling vision — backed by substantive action — to guide them toward more sustainable lifestyles.
Today, MAGNA — the investment and intelligence arm
of IPG Mediabrands — released a study
conducted in partnership with Project Drawdown and
cloud-based, omnichannel advertising platform Teads to better understand
consumer perspectives on sustainability, especially as it relates to the
continued barriers that prevent more sustainable lifestyles.
Sustainability Speaks: Breaking the Barrier of Climate Communication
explores how brands can help bridge these barriers and how advertisers can more
effectively communicate their sustainability goals while also supporting brand
MAGNA surveyed 9,112 people in the United States, the United Kingdom and
Australia, and held five focus groups in the US. Along with echoing recent research from Sustainable
on the most common, ongoing barriers to consumer adoption of more sustainable
habits and lifestyles (expense and lack of access), the study found that
despite these barriers, people remain motivated to ensure a better future — with
99 percent of people agreeing that they can be motivated to take sustainable
"The climate crisis is, in part, a communication crisis," said Jonathan Foley,
Ph.D., Executive Director
of Project Drawdown. "We already have the solutions we need to turn things
around; but we are still paralyzed by misinformation,
and the lack of will to act. We need a clear and compelling vision to move
forward — a vision of a better future, where we come together to stop climate
change, and build a better world for all. That could change the world."
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Additional key findings confirm the imperative for brands to be part of the
conversation: 77 percent of respondents said they wanted brands to take a stance
on sustainability. Furthermore, 75 percent somewhat or strongly agreed that if
brands took meaningful action on sustainability, it would have a tremendous
impact on the environment; and 35 percent would be motivated to act, if they see
brands have, too.
A brand that offers tangible, relevant data in advertising — such as a statistic on how much water was saved in manufacturing — scores better than ambiguous messaging. Defining sustainability itself, a broad term that can vary by product category, makes a difference in helping consumers align around a company’s actions.
The study also ranked which channels consumers favor more when receiving
sustainability messaging. Advertising, at 66 percent, was the optimal
channel; followed by social media (62 percent), newsletters (57
and other brand representatives (52 percent).
But advertising itself is also in the hot seat, thanks to its
until-recently-unchecked carbon footprint — initiatives such as Scope3 and Ad
have emerged to help ensure the climate impacts of the messengers no longer
undermine their sustainability messaging.
“Sustainability practices are good for business, with innovation, transparency,
and information key for brands to strengthen their customer relationships long
term,” added Neala Brown,
SVP of Strategy & Insights at Teads. “While brands should ease customer
hesitations toward adopting a sustainable lifestyle and given advertising as an
optimal channel for that messaging, we are simultaneously working with our brand
partners to reduce their own digital carbon footprint with supply chain and
media optimization via direct publisher relationships.”
Going forward, in addition to reining in the physical impacts of ad
brands would do well to focus on two aspects of their messaging:
Authenticity and credibility — with heightened awareness and scrutiny of
sustainability claims and sensitivity to greenwashing, brands must ensure
both their communications
and the content
they partner with are versed and confident in the validity of the claims
Broader target demographics — brands automatically limit the potential
impact of their messaging when they make assumptions about which
demographics are more easily engaged on sustainability topics; by
considering these more carefully — and developing and marketing sustainable
choices for all consumers,
not just those thought to be most easily moved by sustainability
— brands can ensure broader influence and impact.
The full study can be found
Published Oct 6, 2023 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST