Desire for eco-transparency: opaque sustainability practices deter 1 in 3 consumers

New research from Bazaarvoice’s Influenster community reveals that 1 in 3 consumers believe brands are not completely transparent with their practices when using terms such as ‘eco-friendly’, ‘sustainable’ or ‘green’ (30%) in their marketing and packaging. A quarter (24%) believe brands just use such terms to sell products.

The overwhelming consensus is that the brands we put our faith into and purchase from have a responsibility to protect both the people and the planet by offering sustainable initiatives (88%), and there has never been a market more open to it. Over three quarters (78%) of consumers feel it’s important to use brands or products that are described as ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’ or sustainable. Yet, as viral documentaries such as Seaspiracy question the efficacy of some sustainable certifications, just a quarter (24%) think brands are actually ‘mindful’ of their ecological footprint.


There is a real desire from consumers to educate themselves to do better and be better, in a bid to bring oceans back from the brink. They want to hear more from brands on their sustainability efforts, as long as it’s authentic, almost two thirds of consumers (60%) will actively search on brand websites, blogs and social media to understand what a company is doing to be more eco-friendly, sustainable or to discover what their ‘green’ initiatives are. In fact, Instagram (48%) and influencers (48%) are now the second most popular source for consumers looking to educate themselves about sustainable practices, just behind search engines (50%).

Ed Hill, SVP EMEA at Bazaarvoice comments, “Every year we see consumers become more aware of their ecological footprint, and sustainability is undeniably now a necessity for today’s shopper. Consumers are already actively changing their lifestyles to be more sustainable, and it’s clear they want to trust that brands and retailers are following suit. Uncertainty remains around how the actions of some retail corporations impact the planet, so the key for brands to garner trust and respect is to be open, transparent, and communicative about the ways they prioritise sustainability.”

Hill concludes, “Fundamentally consumers want to support brands whose values and beliefs mirror their own, and we are now in an age when consumer opinions can be shared on a large scale and directly influence brand perception. Brands need to prioritise engaging with customers, learning from them, and encouraging their feedback, particularly as brands and retailers can now elevate website and social media platforms with the voice of their customers.”


Bazaarvoice’s Influenster community conducted this research among 1,100+ respondents in the UK in March 2021. Generational Breakdown: Gen Z (14%), Gen Y (74%), Gen X(11%), Baby Boomers (1%) 

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