What does sustainability mean to parents?

As sustainability becomes a key concern of consumers globally, requiring brands to rethink strategies and business models, we partnered with Mumsnet to uncover what sustainability means to parents.
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As sustainability is increasingly becoming a global concern for consumers, brands are required to rethink their strategies and business models to account for that. However, there’s a fundamental and intractable tension between the pursuit of growth and profit, and commitments towards reducing impact. Brands globally are concerned about the say-do gap; although consumers say they care, it’s not clear to what extent they’re willing to commit in terms of money, and effort, to change their shopping behaviours across categories. This implies that pay-off and return on investment of sustainable business transformation is uncertain and can be long-term, in a highly competitive environment where many brands are struggling to stay afloat.

To support brands on their sustainability journey, we partnered with Mumsnet to understand what’s driving “green” engagement amongst a key shopper demographic: parents. Parents are a sizeable shopper cohort with distinct needs, that brands really care about. This is because the average household spend increases dramatically with the birth of a child, motivating brands to be part of parents’ shopping basket and capture their fair share of that spend increase. Nevertheless, their shopping needs and behaviours are unique, as they are under severe time pressure and convenience, during and post-purchase, is highly valued.

Through our research with Mumsnet we uncovered what sustainability means to parents, what prevents them from behaving more sustainably in their day-to-day lives, and what they expect from governments and brands. Parents are looking to brands to provide them with more options that enable them to behave more sustainably, while meeting their needs for saving time, money, and energy. Different generations of parents have varying concerns around sustainability and prioritise their needs differently when it comes choosing products and services that help them minimise their impact on the environment.

While the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly re-set the weight of priorities for parents, resulting in sustainability potentially dropping from the top 5 concerns that Britons cited in Q4 2019 for the short to medium term, it will remain a top 10 concern and regain its position in the long term. In this new reality, brands that fail to comply with their customers’ “green” demands are risking becoming obsolete and irrelevant. By identifying these nuances between generations of parents but also by level of concern about sustainability issues, we can help brands accelerate their sustainability journey. To do so, we are enabling them to spot where to play with credibility and how to capture the tipping points through powerful engagement and communication in order to win with the parent shopper.

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