A Look Forward: 2022 Sustainability Campaign Evolution
According to the food consultancy, the Hartman Group, a mere 22% of American consumers between the ages of 18-75 can identify a sustainable product and even less a sustainable company. That’s a stunningly low number on its own. But it’s even more stunning when you consider that there has never been a time when consumers are more awash in environmental and sustainability claims and messaging from brands.
Deluged with information, consumers it seems are having a harder time than ever figuring out what to believe and on what grounds. A few brands that come to mind for me when I think about sustainability as a core part of their identity include Patagonia, North Face and L.L.Bean to name a few. Food companies that rise to the top include Ben & Jerry’s, Beyond Meat and Horizon Organic. How do we break into this rarefied air? We know we belong there. After all, our commitment to sustainability isn’t incidental to the products we make, it’s wrapped in their very fiber (no pun intended).
Can we change the trajectory of the data point in the study? I would like to think so, especially with some of the content we’re about to roll out. The Hartman Group study confirms that we’re at least on the right track. It shows, for instance, that consumers have an expectation for packaging to be recyclable, that they report frustration when they encounter products that fail to meet this baseline, and that they draw an equivalence between sustainability and recyclability. It also provides us with data on where consumers learn about sustainability issues (mostly media, tv, books and online). Knowing consumers see ease of recyclability as intrinsic to sustainability, and knowing we have a multichannel campaign designed to reinforce that knowledge in all the places they look for it, is a great start.
We enter a new year – the second full year since America’s papermakers and paper importers voted to renew their program – with strong tailwinds. We are finetuning our story, narrowing our messages to those simple truths about forests and recycling that reinforce consumers good feelings about using our products. We will also continue to debunk long held but outdated information about the paper and packaging companies’ role in growing forests and the communities they rely on.
2022 is going to be about reinforcing good feelings about paper and boxes sustainability because unlike plastics, we’ve got the sustainability stuff covered.