WFA: Marketers Lag On Sustainability Efforts, Launches Catch-Up Program

The WFA is out with new research asserting that marketers lag overall corporate progress on the sustainability front. 

The major problem for brands is consumers expect more in that area and many consumers, including most millennials (75%), will switch to brands they perceive are making a difference.

To help marketers get on track, the group has launched a new program called Planet Pledge. The initiative is designed to put marketers in a position where they can help lead brands’ responses to climate change, encourage efforts across the wider marketing industry and help consumers act more sustainably when using their products and services. 

The new program is being announced at the WFA’s Global Marketer Week, the annual summit convening virtually this week.

The research included a survey of 650 senior marketers around the world. It also cited numerous surveys conducted by others, including a recent Nielsen report that found that 80% of consumers worldwide expect companies to help improve the environment.



Also, 40% of consumers in the U.S. and U.K. now believe brands make it harder for them to “act sustainably.”

Only 10% of those polled in the WFA marketer survey claimed their marketing operations were “well advanced” in the sustainability arena, while 29% said their company as a whole is at that stage.

The Planet Pledge program is intended to bridge that gap, in part by encouraging CMOs to take action in several key areas:

 -- Commit to being a champion for the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign, both within their organizations and externally by encouraging their marketing supply chains to do the same.

-- Scale the capability of marketing organizations to lead for climate action by providing tools and guidance for their marketers and agencies.

-- Harness the power of their marketing communications to drive more sustainable consumer behaviors.

-- Reinforce a trustworthy marketing environment, where sustainability claims can be easily substantiated by consumers as they seek to align their own consumption with their values.

Progress on all these goals will be reported annually by the WFA.

It all sounds ambitious and quite complex in the execution. But drawing up a plan is a good start.



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