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Posted 19 Jun 2020 by Keeli Gregory

“Sustainability isn’t just the right thing to do, it is essential for business growth." – Former Unilever CEO Paul Polman.

As New Zealand businesses navigate the ripple effects of COVID-19, many may be wondering if sustainability should continue to be a top priority.

In times of uncertainty and change, the very reassuring response from a leading sustainability expert, voiced at the launch of the 2020 Colmar Brunton Reputation Index, proves that sustainable practice can lead to business success.

Kantar Global Sustainable Transformation Practice Managing Director Jonathan Hall highlighted that past disruptions often cleared the way for trends like sustainability to gain momentum – something environment-focused organisations could take advantage of.    

Kantar research made a strong business case for companies that aligned with a sustainability agenda. The research showed that:

  • COVID-19 caused a shift in consumer attitudes around sustainability. There was a 20% increase in the percentage of people who said they would seek out companies and brands that offer ways to offset their impact on the environment.
  • there is a shifted focus about brands not delivering for a better self, but rather a better society
  • following the 2008 financial crisis, companies committed to sustainability proved to be more resilient and even more profitable compared to others (Based on the Harvard Business Review, Comprehensive Business Case for Sustainability2016).

Businesses that provide environmentally preferable products and services, like those licenced by Eco Choice Aotearoa, should remain encouraged to stand by their sustainability decisions.  

Even with the increased economic pressure caused by the virus, studies show that genuinely sustainable businesses can succeed and stay a step ahead.

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