Skip to main content
All Posts By

Francis Hemingway

What Do Ethical Consumers Want?

What Do Ethical Consumers Want?

Earth Day raised awareness about the state of our planet and what we can do to help it, making sustainability a priority for many people. The advertising and business press provided some insightful reports on people’s attitudes and behaviours toward being more sustainable.

Below is a collection of our favourite learnings, along with links to the actual reports.

  1. Adoption of sustainable lifestyles is on the rise.

Deloitte’s sustainable lifestyle report shows that people are embracing sustainable behaviours in many aspects of their lives. While recycling and reducing food waste are the most popular behaviours, limiting single-use plastic, reducing the amount of new product purchases, and reducing meat and animal products are the fastest-growing habits. Deloitte also looked at what is important to people when buying brands and products.

They found that people consider the following sustainable and ethical values most important when choosing brands/products:

  • Producing sustainable packaging and products
  • Reducing waste in the manufacturing process
  • Committing to ethical working practices
  • Reducing carbon footprint
  • Respect for human rights

Full report here

  1. Sustainability-marketed products occupy 17% of the consumer-packaged goods market and are growing faster than non-sustainability marketed products.

NYU Stern’s Sustainable Market Share Index found that sustainability-marketed products grew 2.7x faster than products not marketed as sustainable. These products also command an average 28% price premium, which shows that many people are willing to pay more for a product that is kinder to the planet. Brands are reacting to this demand by producing more sustainable products; 1 in every 2 new products that were introduced to the CPG market in 2021 communicated a sustainable benefit.

Full report here

  1. People want both sustainability and affordability.

We are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis that is affecting everyone in different ways. You would be forgiven for thinking that people abandon sustainable living habits during challenging economic times, but Capgemini’s Today’s Consumer report shows that isn’t always the case. The study found that people are still very much committed to being more sustainable but are trying to balance that ambition with their financial reality. 54% of consumers value affordability over sustainability, meaning that 46% feel the opposite. Capgemini advised brands to lead with purpose to manage the growing tension between affordability and sustainability, recommending tactics such as value-led loyalty schemes and re-evaluating the price of sustainable products.

Full report here

  1. Utilities, food and travel are the sectors where people are looking to be more sustainable with their spending.

PDI Technologies’ Business of Sustainability Index report outlined utilities, food and restaurants, fuel stations, and hotels as the top categories where people are most likely to make sustainable purchase choices. They also found that loyalty/rewards schemes would drive adoption of sustainable products.

Full report here

  1. Consumers do not understand some of the newer sustainability terms and want brands to use clear language.

Economists, sustainability advocates and brands are increasingly using terms like “circular economy,” “regenerative agriculture,” and “carbon neutral” in sustainability communications. The National Retail Federation’s study shows that few people understand these terms; 11% are familiar with “circular economy,” 13% with “regenerative agriculture,” and 34% with “carbon neutral.” They encourage using more familiar and simple terms such as “recyclability,” which are understood by a significantly larger proportion of society.

Full report here

  1. Certifications matter more than ever, and brands should use them.

BCorp, Fairtrade, Planet Mark, and other independent certifications act as kitemarks of sustainable and ethical practices. The Shelton Group’s research shows that these marks influence product purchase and build trust in brands, with 87% of people saying certifications are important when purchasing products. Such certifications can act as shortcuts for people to choose a brand and have confidence that it is ethical.  Brands that have such certifications should ensure these marks play a prominent role in their advertising and packaging.

Full report here

The GoodNet has been nominated in the Rising Star category at the prestigious Start-Up Awards.

The GoodNet has been nominated in the Rising Star category at the prestigious Start-Up Awards. The nomination recognizes the exceptional growth and success of The GoodNet in the tech industry, and its commitment to providing innovative solutions for businesses and consumers alike.

Co-founder of The GoodNet, Guy Jones, expressed his gratitude for the nomination, saying “We are thrilled and humbled to be nominated for the Rising Star category at the Start-Up Awards. It is an honour to be recognized by such a prestigious organization and we are excited to continue pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation to help businesses succeed.”

The Start-Up Awards are one of the most respected and competitive awards in the UK’s start-up community. The Rising Star category highlights the most promising new businesses in the industry and celebrates their achievements. The GoodNet’s nomination is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire team, and its commitment to innovation and excellence in advertising and sustainability.

The judging panel contains executives from companies such as Startling Bank, BT and EY, and previous winners include Tail (fintech platform), Seedrs (funding platform) and Ver (energy).

The winners of the Start-Up Awards will be announced at a ceremony in London in June. The GoodNet team is eagerly looking forward to attending the event and meeting other industry leaders to celebrate the achievements of the UK’s start-up community.

“Consumers care about sustainability and they back it up with their wallets”…

So said McKinsey when they released the learnings from a joint study undertaken with Nielsen IQ that examined the explosion of interest from consumers in environmentally and socially responsible brands and products.

McKinsey and NielsenIQ analysed 5 years of sales data covering 44,000 brands and identified 93 different ESG-related claims. The analysis revealed a clear link between ESG-related claims (e.g. animal welfare, environmental sustainability, organic-farming methods, planet-based, social responsibility and sustainable packaging) and consumer spending.

This news was music to our ears here at The GoodNet, and we’ve had a good look at the report.

Here are six things we learned..

1. Consumers are increasingly prioritizing sustainability: The report found that nearly 60% of consumers globally are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce their environmental impact. This means that companies who prioritise sustainable practices are likely to attract and retain more customers in the long run.

2. Consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products: According to the report, around 45% of consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products. This suggests that companies that invest in sustainable production methods and materials may be able to command a price premium for their products.

3. This applies to brands of all sizes. Smaller brands achieved disproportionate growth in 59% of categories, while larger brands did so in 50%. Established products making ESG-related claims outperformed established products without them in 68% of categories. Private-label products that made ESG-related claims seized more than their expected share of growth in 88% of categories, suggesting consumers may be eager to support affordable ESG-friendly products.

4. Less-common ESG-related claims are associated with higher growth rates than more common claims. This suggests brands can successfully use their sustainability initiatives and positioning as a means of differentiation. Products that highlighted the least common ESG-related features (such as “vegan”) grew 8.5% more than peers that didn’t make such claims.

5. Combining multiple ESG-related claims is associated with higher growth rates. Products with multiple types of claims grew twice as fast as those with only one. However, companies must back these claims with genuine actions that have a meaningful ESG impact to avoid greenwashing. The study suggests that a multiplicity of claims made by a product may correlate with authentic ESG-related behaviour on the part of the brand, and brands should reflect on their commitment to ESG practices holistically.

6. Sustainable practices can boost customer loyalty: Consumers are increasingly loyal to companies that prioritize sustainability. In fact, nearly 70% of consumers said they are more likely to recommend a brand if they believe it is making a positive impact on society and the environment.

Overall, the McKinsey report highlights the growing importance of sustainability for consumers and the potential benefits for companies that prioritise sustainable practices. By taking meaningful action on sustainability and effectively communicating their efforts (while complying with appropriate legislation such the ASA’s Green Claims Code), companies can differentiate themselves from competitors and build lasting customer loyalty.

Read the full report here.

The GoodNet & actionable Partner to Help Marketers Reach & Engage Ethical Consumers

Sustainability ad network, The GoodNet, and technology company, actionable, announced an exclusive partnership that will help brands and non-profits activate interactive ad formats for ethical consumers in the moments they are most likely to take action. 

This partnership will bring together actionable’s deep expertise in building engaging ad solutions with The GoodNet’s access to a scaled audience of ethical consumers within highly contextually relevant environments. 

Any brands or organisations working with The GoodNet will be able to leverage actionable’s customisable ActionButton format, which can be used to gather insights, raise awareness, prompt user action, and create conversation. Likewise, any advertisers working with actionable will have the ability to activate their message across The GoodNet’s network of publishers whose content makes the world greener, healthier, and fairer. 

Sustainability is a critical topic within the advertising industry and much good work is being done around subjects such as carbon emissions. However, sustainability is also about engaging communities of people to take positive action in their lives and in the world around them. This partnership brings together two companies at the forefront of this charge, allowing advertisers to leverage their complementary services in a simple, joined-up way. 

actionable have worked with notable brands in the U.S.A in industries ranging from tech to beauty to lifestyle, with highlights including General Motors, Tommy Hilfiger, and L’Oreal. Last year, actionable was a key part of the General Motors master-brand launch, helping to raise awareness around the brand’s overall shift towards electric vehicles and sustainability. 

Guy Jones, co-founder, The GoodNet said, “We are delighted to be bringing the ActionButton to advertisers who are working with us to reach ethical audiences. Our audience comes to our publisher websites for inspiration and advice on how to live a greener, healthier, and socially positive life. This unique format is a fantastic way for brands to engage with ethical consumers in the moments when they are looking to take positive action.” 

Alice Pott, managing director, actionable, said “actionable has always believed in the power of meeting people in the moments they feel inspired and giving them ways to take instant action. TheGoodNet’s extensive sustainability publishers gives us the opportunity to reach even more moments of inspiration with ethically-minded audiences. Collaboration is key to building a sustainable future and we are thrilled to have found such an aligned partner.”


Ferris the Zero Waste App Becomes the Latest Publisher to Join The Goodnet

Sustainability ad network, The GoodNet, and Ferris, the zero waste app, today (September 7th, 2022) announced a partnership whereby The GoodNet takes on the sales of Ferris’s new advertising and sponsorship products. Through this partnership, The GoodNet’s advertisers will be able to reach Ferris’s user base of ethical consumers who are driving the growth of the circular economy

What is Ferris?

Ferris is a zero waste app for giving and getting once-loved items for free. Founded by two ex-BT and Sky executives, Phil Galloway and Nick Castle, their mission is to inspire consumers to reduce waste by making the circular economy fun and rewarding. The sharp growth of Ferris this year has been driven by their community of 35,000 users, who are putting sustainability at the centre of tackling the cost of living crisis. Ferris is accessible to everyone, and all items offered on the platform must be given away for free. Through this approach, the Ferris community has so far saved over 100 tons* of CO2 emissions in London by giving thousands of items including furniture, household appliances, and clothes.

Why is Zero-Waste Living so important?

The British population’s interest and participation in the circular economy is growing. McKinsey’s recent ‘Understanding the consumers of the future’ research study reported that “around 50% of consumers in the UK have purchased preowned items. As sustainability conscious GenZers get older, the proportion will rise”**, and with increasing costs of living the appetite to give and get quality once-loved items will only increase.

What does this mean for advertisers?

Ferris’s suite of ad products, that can be accessed via The GoodNet, include sponsored articles, app takeovers, branded social posts, unique email offers, and display ads.

Phil Galloway, co-founder of Ferris said “This platform is a Win Win Win for the community, for our planet and for households – especially during these tough times. Our community is getting amazing once-loved items for free; thousands of items are being saved from landfill; and the Ferris community are enjoying the benefits of a decluttered home, accompanied by the glow of giving something away to a fellow neighbour. We partnered with The GoodNet because they slot perfectly into our vision, and the brands they work with align with our core mission of reducing waste and tackling the cost of living crisis. Ferris is one of a very small pool of platforms where brands can connect with an audience on these two planes concurrently”

Guy Jones, co-founder, The GoodNet said, “We are thrilled to be working with Ferris. They have built a brilliant product that is being used by a highly engaged community. This makes Ferris the ideal platform for brands joining the battle against climate change and/or cost of living crisis. We launched The GoodNet to help ethical brands grow by reaching audiences who are looking to live a more sustainable life. Ferris and their audience are a great fit for our network, and we look forward to taking their brilliant ad products to our clients.”

The GoodNet partners with Scope3

Greener, Fairer, Healthier

The GoodNet today announced a partnership with Scope3, the source of truth for programmatic supply chain emissions data. Through this deal, every campaign running across The GoodNet’s network of sustainability-publishers will be carbon neutral, having its carbon emissions measured and compensated for through a high-quality portfolio of carbon removal projects.

Advertising’s impact on the climate crisis is complex. Research from Purpose Disruptors tells us that advertising adds an incredible 28% to the annual carbon footprint of every person in the UK. This includes the emissions generated by running advertising campaigns themselves, but more importantly through the incremental demand for products that advertising drives. It is critical that we decarbonise the digital ads supply chain, but also that we focus on how advertising can influence more ethical consumer behavior at a mass scale.

This partnership will enable brands to fuse together three critical aspects of sustainability media buying. Firstly, The GoodNet gives advertisers the ability to reach an audience of ethical consumers who are receptive to brands and products that drive the wellbeing of people and the planet. Secondly, by using The GoodNet brands are directly funding publishers whose content inspires and educates people to live greener, healthier and more socially positive lives. And lastly, through Scope3’s data and portfolio of carbon removal projects, The GoodNet can measure the total emissions of all ad campaigns and mitigate their impact.

Oliver Deane, co-founder, The GoodNet said, “The GoodNet was founded to help brands reach ethical audiences and to help sustainability-focused publishers earn revenue that funds their vital work. We’re delighted that our partnership with Scope3 ensures that every campaign we run will be carbon neutral, while also helping establish an independent, industry-standard measurement for carbon emissions. This is another tangible step towards a greener media industry.”

Harvin Gupta, Head of Commercial Partnerships at Scope 3 said, “The GoodNet is an exciting business and a leader in championing advertising as a force for good. By offering Green Media Products powered by Scope3, The GoodNet enables advertisers to not only invest in and support socially positive content but to also rapidly decarbonise their media and advertising supply chain. ”