New study reveals 'sustainable generation' of future business leaders


A new study suggests that current graduates, managers and MBA students constitute a 'sustainable generation' who will be the business leaders of tomorrow. Examining the attitudes and ambitions of this up-and-coming group, ‘The Sustainable Generation: The Sky Future Leaders Study’ suggest that, having grown up with issues like environmental protection and social responsibility as a constant feature in their lives, tomorrow’s business leaders are knowledgeable about sustainability and are clear that there is a strong business case for addressing social and environmental issues. 70% agree that sustainability can create new opportunities for business and 78% believe that UK business are making a genuine effort to fully integrate sustainability into their operations. However, just 3% believe companies are fully succeeding and only 27% think companies make such claims because they genuinely believe them to be true. The report contains a five point plan for better integrating sustainability into their practices, including taking more responsibility for supply change sustainability credentials and integrating sustainability into values and decisions.

Read more on the Sky website >>



Consumers 'more aware' of products' origins


A new study by UL says that 57% of consumers say they are “always or usually” aware of a product’s country of origin and that, while 67% of people said that product quality is better today than it was 5 years ago, 75% think manufacturers don’t use the best-quality materials and don’t follow environmentally friendly procedures. The study, entitled 'The Product Mindset', also suggests that environmental concerns and consumer interest in the origin of their devices is going to be playing a major part in brand and marketing over the next few years.

Read more on the UL website >>






Consumer influence over brands growing


Consumers are increasingly aware of how their purchasing decisions influence the success of a brand and 91% of consumers are influenced by brands' ethical values, according to a study commissioned by EA Worldwide. The study of 1,000 people found that nearly 75% would like to know more about brands' commitments to environmental issues, relationships with charitable organisations and behaviour towards loyal customers. EA Worldwide claims that many big brands are beginning to take notice of how consumers view these environmental issues and that consumers now drive how a brand evolves and how successful it will be.

Read more on the EA website >>






Consumers call on banks to give something back to society


Three out of four UK savers feel banks should do more to help society, according to recent research from leading ethical bank Triodos. With dissatisfaction from the UK public around the banking sector continuing, 74% of savers think banks should help society, compared with 15% who think they shouldn't. 64% wanted to see more investment in community and social groups and 62% would like to see banks doing more to support renewable energy initiatives. A quarter of respondents want to see greater investment in organic farming and one in five feel the arts and culture deserve more support from the banking community.

Read more on the Triodos website >>



Sustainable lifestyles to be mainstream by 2020


Sustainable products and services will be mainstream by 2020, according to a study by Forum for the Future, Sainsbury’s and Unilever. The survey, designed to help the consumer goods industry meet the needs of the consumer of the future, predicts that household brands and retailers will help make green living normal and easier for millions of people around the world, and that progress towards sustainable consumption will not be knocked off course by a weak global economy. The study contains four scenarios which explore how global trends may change our world, consumer behaviour and the consumer goods industry over the next decade. In each scenario social and environmental pressures drive sustainable goods and services into the mainstream, whether or not consumers actively demand them and regardless of whether the global economy is thriving or subdued.

Read more on the Forum for the Future website >>






Most Brits don’t know how their savings are invested


Nearly four-fifths of Britons don’t know how or where their savings are invested, according to research conducted for Charity Bank. Of 2,000 UK nationals surveyed, just over half (51%) of those surveyed care where their ISA deposits are invested but only 13% said they were aware that they could purchase an ISA whereby 100% of the money goes towards helping charities and other community organisations. ‘The survey results show that people do care where their savings go, but there is still a lot of work to be done to raise the profile of ethical banking,’ said Charity Bank CEO Malcolm Hayday.

Read the full article on the Charity Bank website >>






Rising consumer demand for companies to lower their carbon footprints


A study by the Carbon Trust has found that nearly half of shoppers (45%) would shun brands that don't take steps to measure and reduce the carbon footprints of their products (up from 22% last year) but that only 59% of FTSE 100 companies have clear, robust targets to cut carbon emissions. When asked whether they would buy low carbon labelled goods over non-labelled goods of identical quality, the survey found that 47% are more likely to choose low carbon labelled goods over non-labelled and 21% would pay more for carbon labelled products. The analysis also found that leading companies are seeking to exploit revenue generating opportunities from the low carbon economy. The Kingfisher Group (trading as B&Q and Screwfix in the UK) increased its sales of independently verified Eco products to £1.1 billion, accounting for 10.5% of total retail sales across the Group.

Read more on the Carbon Trust website >>






Labelling and price barriers to choosing healthy, local, ethically produced food


Seven in ten people say that buying sustainable fish is important, but only 30% say that they buy sustainable fish, because a third of people aren’t sure how to choose sustainable fish products and are confused by labelling, according to research published by Defra. The figures indicate that people’s preferences don’t always match what they ultimately buy, with price being a major factor in many people’s buying decisions. While people rated buying British seasonal produce and whether their food was produced ethically as the least important choices, nearly two thirds of people still considered these to be important considerations when buying food, with most shoppers saying they actively seek to buy healthy foods (82%) and British seasonal produce (72%). Of those people who do look to buy seasonal fruit and vegetables, almost half think seasonal food tastes better and two thirds prefer to buy according to the season, with 30 per cent saying they want to support British farmers.

Read more on the UK Government website >>






Organic textile sales defy economic downturn


Retail sales of organic textiles in the UK have defied the economic downturn, growing by an estimated 7.8% in 2010, with turnover of organic businesses certified by the Soil Association increasing 35% to £12 million, according to the Soil Association’s latest Organic Market Report. There are currently 2,750 Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) licensees across five continents, up from 27 five years ago and organic cotton accounts for around 91% of UK organic textile sales.

Read more on the Soil Association website >>



Transport industry under pressure to prioritise green solutions


An independent survey by Trelleborg Marine Systems has highlighted the growing pressure on major transport hubs to lower carbon emissions throughout the supply chain. 8 out of 10 port owners, consultants and contractors claim to be faced by some pressure to use sustainable or 'green' materials when specifying port equipment. The report also indicates that consultants acting on behalf of ports, terminals and harbours face the biggest demands with 86% admitting to some, significant or constant pressure to prioritise green solutions.

Read the Barometer Report >>