Unilever Finally Puts Numbers to the Green Movement Proving It Is Worth the Investment


“This research confirms that sustainability isn’t a nice-to-have for businesses,” said Keith Weed, chief marketing and communications officer for Unilever.

It’s no longer a ‘perk’ for customers if you have sustainability certification, it’s a measurable business asset. New research suggests the way consumer’s view a brand’s stance on environmental responsibility has direct impact on sales.

A survey of 20,000 adults from the United States, United Kingdom, India, Brazil, and Turkey concluded 33 percent (fully one third) of consumers choose to buy from brands they believe are conscious of social or environmental conservation.



“To succeed globally, brands should go beyond traditional focus areas like product performance and affordability. Instead, they must act quickly to prove their social and environmental credentials and show consumers they can be trusted with the future of the planet and communities, as well as their own bottom lines,” continues Weed.

The study also proves that 21 percent of consumers would be more likely to buy a brand’s products if their stance was made clearer on the label.

The study is released following an announcement that the CPG powerhouse is shifting focus towards the market for more natural foods. Meal Makers, Knorr’s pre-packaged meals-in-a-box are now made with “100% natural ingredients”, while Hellman’s mayonnaise has maintained their ‘real mayo’ stance but gone further to add organic ingredients.

Neilson has also conducted a vast amount of research about sustainability in the product market, and attributes millennials as the consumers driving the unprecedented trend.

“Brands that establish a reputation for environmental stewardship among today’s youngest consumers have an opportunity to not only grow market share but build loyalty among the power-spending Millennials of tomorrow, too,” says Grace Farraj, SVP, Public Development & Sustainability for Nielsen.

“When it comes down to financial commitment, a sustainable sentiment shifts to one of increased social awareness and responsibility,” said Farraj. “Marketers need to connect messaging with the causes that matter most to consumers and that also align with their brand.”


Here are a few more stats to help you understand what drives this growing demographics’ purchasing decisions:


  • 62% are more likely to purchase a product made by a brand they trust
  • 59% will buy if its health and wellness benefits are clear
  • 41% would choose a brand for its environmental packaging