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  • Astrid von Schmeling 10:20 am on September 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BSR, consumer research, Electrolux, futerra, globescan,   

    In search of the sustainable consumer 

    During the coming two decades, about two more billion people will join the middle class and the planet will have to go from sustaining 1 billion consumer lifestyles to 2-3 billion. Any global brand that’s seriously looking at its role in society has the sustainable consumer as its holy grail.

    Pursuing consumer engagement is nothing new. And over the years most research seem to indicate that a sustainable lifestyle is ‘just around the corner’, yet never at hand.  Take BSR’s and Futerra’s report, Value_Gap, published this week. According to survey respondents, consumer interest in sustainable lifestyles will become a market dominating force by 2018. They claim that at present, 88% of consumers are only ‘slightly interested’.

     

    Research shows that Chinese and Brazilian consumers prioritize environment impact in their  purchasing decisions.

    Research shows that Chinese and Brazilian consumers prioritize environmental impacts in their purchasing decisions. Photo: Flickr

    Not all studies are telling the same story, though. Some recent research actually indicates that a wider consumer base for sustainable consumption is within reach today. This may be more attributed to the granularity of the study, rather than an actual indication of the state of the sustainable consumer.

    Globscan’s Regeneration Consumer Study 2012, an online consumer survey on sustainable consumption, indicates that people in developing markets (Brazil, China, India) are more than twice as likely as their counterparts in developed markets (Germany, United Kingdom, United States) to report that they purchase products because of environmental and social benefits.  They are also willing to pay more for sustainable products and encourage others to buy from companies that are socially and environmentally responsible.

    The global appliance manufacturer Electrolux recently published research in six of its major markets and concurs with Globescan’s findings. The appliance company’s consumer survey was carried out as part of a wider brand scorecard study, and consumers were interviewed in Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, France and the United States. Here, two-thirds of consumers consider the environmental impact of home appliances to be an important factor when purchasing a product. Like Globescan’s report, Chinese and Brazilians placed greatest emphasis on the environmental impact in their decision-making.

    Compared to factors such as price and features/functions, energy efficiency was ranked as a top-three buying criterion in all of the six countries surveyed by Electrolux. My conclusion? When you specifically ask about products that directly relate to energy use, sustainable lifestyle choices like efficiency is coming out on top today–even when the consumers are asked to choose between other traditional influences on consumers’ decisions. But when you talk about harder-to-define issues like sustainable lifestyle, the outcome is more difficult to pin down and the timeline for achieving sustainable consumption gets much longer. In short, the claim that the sustainable consumer is here today may not only be wishful thinking.

     
  • Astrid von Schmeling 8:09 am on November 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: awards, , Electrolux, , Lundquist,   

    Communications award is just a ‘like’ away 

    Everybody loves a good ranking, and sustainability communications awards are few and far between. One of few ratings is issued by Italian online communications bureau Lundquist. Its list of favorite CSR online communications came out a couple of weeks ago—highlighting best practice from Europe, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Nordic region.

    Congratulations to One Stone clients Ericsson, SCA and Electrolux for swooping the first, second and fourth placements for the Nordic region. All these companies were commended for improving their communications over the last year.

    Ericsson comes out top of the Nordic ranking and placed 21st in the European list of 252 companies. Lundquist liked Ericsson’s high level of interactive tools, including a Twitter account integrated into the corporate website. As strong advocates of social media, in part as a major sponsor of the UN affiliated Social Good Summit, Ericsson makes sure that it leverages social media to maximize its reach. Ericsson also prides itself on telling great stories and there are lots to choose from on their site.

    Lundquist commended second place-ranked SCA for packing a surprising amount of information into cleanly laid out pages. Its site is built around its sustainability strategy, providing a detailed overview of its targets. The company is also present in a wide range of social media channels, always a plus on Lundquist’s books.

    While Electrolux’ strength is not in the use of social media, its sustainability pages are chock-full of concise information on its priorities and impacts. It also publishes an extensive online GRI report that demonstrates that the company makes sure its’ homework is done.

     

     

    The Nordic region is by many considered a Mecca for IT users. Its multi-nationals are relatively proficient in transparency. That’s why I’m a little surprised that the region didn’t fare better against Italian companies like Eni and Telecom Italia in communicating on sustainability as per Lundquist’s criteria. Although the winners in the Nordic region out-performed most European counterparts, no Nordic company managed to make the European top 20 list.

     
  • Astrid von Schmeling 10:52 pm on September 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Electrolux, Future InSight, Keith McLoughlin, , Tessa Tennant   

    Future focus showcased as new trend in reporting 

    Electrolux has just launched Future InSight, a platform to highlight their sustainability strategy and how they intend to realize it. With it, the appliance manufacturer is taking reporting in an entirely different direction.

    They want to underline that sustainability is all about preparing for the future—so communicating about it should be forward-thinking; not a narrow-minded focus on past performance.

    Sustainability is about engaging more people in the challenges ahead, rather than exclusively communicating about these issues for a select few CSR-nerds. That’s why Electrolux wanted to develop a forum and language that spoke about their agenda in a way relevant to a broader audience.

    Sustainability is about defining a company’s role in tackling the enormous challenges ahead. But no company can define that on its own. So, Electrolux wanted to use the report as a springboard for dialog about the way forward, by encouraging readers to provide their insights. They even relayed the same questions that they asked themselves in the process of developing their strategy. Electrolux will have regular installments of their blog to underline different aspects of their strategy and explore the challenges.

    Future InSight doesn’t replace their GRI report; it compliments it. It is much more than simply a report, too; it is a video, blog and internal communications platform.

    Keith McLoughlin Electrolux CEO, set the tone in a conversation with Tessa Tennant, Executive Chair of Globalcool.org, on the challenges ahead, the key factors for success, how to engage consumers and the rising expectations among shareholders for engagement. Take ten to watch, read the report and then join in on the conversation.

     
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