The report from Forethought suggests the ESG stories should be left to the PR and corporate affairs teams. The report’s authors sought to answer the following question: Are ESG issues main or even minor drivers of consumer behavior? The authors studied ad campaigns from Woolworths and Coles in Australia. It also sought to determine if a corporation’s reputation related to sustainability drives consumer behavior and can override price and quality considerations.
The report concludes that “consideration of environmentally sustainable policies is an exceedingly small driver of consumer choice.” For example, product freshness was 19 times more important than environmentally sustainable practices among Gen Zers surveyed.
“The broader question is whether it is fair to task CMOs with the dual agenda of driving sales and market share growth, as well as position the brand on non-sales driving purpose motives such as environmental sustainability, all within a finite budget?” study author Darren Stein asked, according to the article.
“This research would suggest that in many cases, marketers could find themselves being caught between a rock and a hard place – working and spending on important, meaningful and essential programs and messages that don’t drive sales, despite being measured ultimately on sales growth.”