Is Sustainability Now Crucial For Business Success?


“B Corps”. “Ecopreneurs”. “Zero Carbon Brands”…

In recent years, as the pace of climate change hastened, so has the pressure on businesses to do something about it. Yet a majority of companies still have no real sustainability strategy. Many are understandably concerned about potential impacts on revenue and loss of custom.

Are these worries justified?..

Thankfully, recent data from Meta, Google and IBM gives us some interesting answers.

Meta Sustainability Insights

In early 2022, Meta published research that suggests “consumers will look to connect with brands that reflect their evolving beliefs, and they’re willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly or sustainable products”.

The same report highlighted important stats regarding the topic of sustainability on both Facebook and Instagram:

  • From 2019 to 2020, membership of Electric Vehicle groups on Facebook increased by 99%.
  • Posts containing sustainability-related hashtags received 2 times more interactions than other posts made by CPG brands.
  • Sustainable fashion was 6 times more likely to be discussed on Instagram than the average topic.
  • 44% of travelers are willing to pay more for a sustainable travel experience

It’s largely millennials that are behind this changing landscape, as they seek out brands with an environmental and social conscience.

Google Trends Data

Over the past 5 years, searches for ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable brands’ have increased significantly on Google. This demonstrates that growing awareness of sustainability very quickly impacts on consumer buying behaviours.

Interestingly, searches for the term ‘greenwashing’ have also soared during the past 2 years. As a result, savvy customers are unlikely to be fooled by firms who halfheartedly embrace sustainability, or worse… fake it.

From these search trends, we can hypothesise that businesses with a clear, sustainability strategy are likely to inspire more consumer trust.

IBM Report

Of course, revenue is often the number one priority for business owners. So does being sustainable harm or help sales? The IBM study ‘Own Your Transformation’ gives us some clues.

1,500 CSCOs and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) were surveyed on their current priorities.

  • 52% named sustainability at or near the top of their priority list.
  • 50% stated that sustainability investments will accelerate their business growth.
  • Pressure for sustainability transparency is coming from investors, board members and customers.

One key feature of the report is the analysis of business leaders who have already pressed ahead with implementing changes.

These ‘innovators’ have focused on improving AI, automation and sustainable practices.

The result is that they are now outperforming other businesses in key areas including 11% higher revenue growth!

Summary – The view from Spike

From a digital marketing perspective, the businesses that embrace sustainability are likely to have more social media interactions, increased brand trust, and enhanced revenue,

It’s clear from Meta, Google and IBM data that customer interest in sustainability is continuing to rise. Brands that embrace this change are likely to reap the rewards.

In contrast, those that resist the sustainability juggernaut may well find the future challenging.