#10things why consumers will ‘cancel’ brands not operating sustainably
Over 76% of South Africans will cancel their loyalty to brands not operating sustainably.Friday, 29 Apr 2022
People the world over are fed up with the lack progress society is making towards sustainability and social initiatives – and 76% of South Africans will cancel their loyalty to brands not operating sustainably. They want businesses to turn talk into action and believe technology can help businesses succeed where people have failed. This is according to a new study by Oracle and Pamela Rucker, CIO advisor and instructor for Harvard Professional Development.
The study, of more than 11,000 consumers and business leaders across 15 countries including South Africa, also revealed that 60% of South Africans believe bots will succeed where humans have failed with corporate sustainability – including business leaders. And while consumers are pressuring brands, business is trying to manage consumer expectations. These are the 10 things you should know about how consumers currently feel about corporate sustainability initiatives and why they will shift their loyalties and remove some brands from their shopping list; as well as how brands are meeting this challenge:
1. Lack of progress by society
The global study found that 98% of people believe society has not made enough progress on sustainability and social efforts; 56% attribute the lack of progress to people being too busy with other priorities; 50% believe it is the result of more emphasis on short-term profits over long-term benefits; 46% of respondents in South Africa believe people are too lazy or selfish to help save the planet.
2. Lack of progress by business
In South Africa, 87% of people are frustrated and fed up with the lack of progress made by businesses; and want businesses to turn talk into action; and believe technology can help businesses succeed where people have failed; 57% believe businesses can make more meaningful change on sustainability and social factors than individuals or governments alone; and 95% believe it’s not enough for businesses to say they’re prioritizing ESG – they need to see action and proof.
3. Pandemic has changed consumers
The events of the past two years have put a spotlight on sustainability and social efforts, with people worldwide fed up with the lack of progress. In fact, 97% of South Africans believe sustainability and social factors are more important than ever; and 87% said the events over the past two years have caused them to change their actions.
4. Technology to the rescue?
Can technology succeed where humans are failing 89% of South African respondents believe businesses would make more progress towards sustainability and social goals with the help of AI, and 61% even believe bots will succeed where humans have failed.
5. Human bias hurts CSI
However, as consumers want businesses to do more in their social efforts, 97% of South Africa’s business leaders believe human bias and emotions hurt their corporate sustainability efforts. Business leaders know sustainability efforts are critical to corporate success and even trust bots over humans alone to drive sustainability and social efforts, because they believe bots are better at collecting different types of data without error (60%); making rational, unbiased decisions (50%); and predicting future outcomes based on metrics/past performance (54%).
6. CSI efforts can strengthen brands
91% of executives believe sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) programs are critical to the success of their organisations. They identified the top three benefits, as strengthening the brand (54%); increasing productivity (45%); and attracting new customers (49%).
7. Major obstacles remain for brands
Almost all business leaders (92%) are facing major obstacles when implementing sustainability and ESG initiatives. The biggest challenges include obtaining ESG metrics from partners and third parties (45%); a lack of data (48%); and time-consuming manual reporting processes (37%).
8. Cut ties with businesses that don’t take action
Businesses need to prioritise sustainability and social issues and rethink how they use technology to make an impact – or risk facing major consequences – 76% of people in South Africa would be willing to cancel their relationship with a brand that does not take sustainability and social initiatives seriously; and 77% would even leave their current company to work for a brand that places a greater focus on these efforts.
9. Brand loyalty comes at a premium
If organisations can clearly demonstrate the progress they are making on environmental and social issues, people would be more willing to pay a premium for their products and services (92%); invest in their companies (90%); and work for them (88%).
10. Business does understand the urgency
Business leaders understand the importance and urgency – 94% believe sustainability and societal metrics should be used to inform traditional business metrics, and 95% want to increase their investment in sustainability.
Source: Learn more about this global report here: www.oracle.com/noplanetb
Main image credit: Unsplash.com
– Receive the Retailing Africa newsletter every Wednesday • Subscribe here.