How advertisers can connect with shoppers with sustainable marketing

27 October 2021

Love Beauty and Planet, a personal care Unilever brand, understands the urgency of sustainability. And during Amazon Ads’ annual unBoxed conference, Cameron Westfall, Head of Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly Programme, spoke to Senior Global Brand Director at Unilever, Sonika Malhotra, on Love Beauty and Planet’s efforts to create more environmentally friendly products is good for both their customers and the planet.

A growing number of consumers today care about sustainability, Westfall explained. In fact, 2020 research from NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business found that more than half of consumer-packaged goods growth in the previous five years came from sustainability-marketed products.1

Additionally, IBM and the National Retail Federation found that nearly 8 in 10 respondents to a 2020 survey said sustainability is important to them, and nearly 6 in 10 would change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact.2

This shift in consumer behaviour will impact businesses’ bottom lines too, Westfall said. According to a study by Environics Research and Amazon Ads, well over half of consumers in the US and Europe say they are prepared to pay more for more sustainable products.3 Further, consumers expect brands to address their concerns for the environment, with over 70 percent of consumers saying they’re tired of brands acting like they’re exempt from environmental responsibility.4

A woman and a man on stage talking

“This is good news, and not just for brands who champion sustainability initiatives and products. It’s good news for all of us: for our planet, our customers, and businesses large and small,” Westfall said.

Amazon founded The Climate Pledge, committing to be net-zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. The programme also encourages other businesses to join Amazon in this ambitious effort. In addition, Amazon is also helping customers discover and shop for more sustainable products.

“This is why I get out of bed every morning. I’ve spent years here at Amazon building experiences to help customers save time while shopping our stores. Now, I’m motivated every day to help customers preserve our natural world and take better care of our planet,” Westfall said.

The Climate Pledge Friendly Programme makes it easier for shoppers to purchase more sustainable products on Amazon. The programme works with trusted third-party certifications and uses Compact by Design, Amazon’s own sustainability certification, to highlight over 200,000 products that meet sustainability standards with Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly label. This is an example of how brands and sustainability leaders can help raise environmental consciousness, and enable consumers to make shopping decisions that align with their values, Westfall said.

Love Beauty and Planet is encouraging consumers around the world to make more thoughtful and sustainable shopping decisions.

As a global personal care brand, Love Beauty and Planet’s products are certified vegan and cruelty-free. On its website, Love Beauty and Planet explains that all of its packaging is made with 100% recycled materials. And the brand has committed to net-zero emissions by 2030.

Even though the brand is quite new, being about three years old, it is present in more than 40 countries. And Malhotra said that Love Beauty and Planet has learned a lot from its customers.

The brand has found that some consumers have started making changes to their buying habits by incorporating more sustainable product choices. Love Beauty and Planet has seen these consumer shifts as an opportunity to offer more options for consumers who are on their own individual journeys of sustainability.

quoteUpThis is good news, and not just for brands who champion sustainability initiatives and products. It’s good news for all of us: for our planet, our customers and businesses large and small.quoteDown
– Cameron Westfall, Head of Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly Programme

For example, Love Beauty and Planet created 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner bars, which are a low-waste hair care option that deliver both beauty and planet benefits while saving water and packaging weight. The bars have Amazon’s Compact by Design certification. But for customers who prefer hair care in the more traditional format of a bottle, Love Beauty and Planet also has products like aluminium refillable shampoo and conditioner bottles or lightweight refill bottles. The brand also launched concentrated shampoo conditioner which saves 50% water and plastic and is an extremely value-dense solution for online retailers.

Not only is Love Beauty and Planet developing products that keep both the Earth and customers in mind, it has also used Amazon Ads solutions to help promote its brand and mission. Malhotra shared that the brand has a comprehensive marketing approach, listening to consumers online and in social media communities and taking that feedback to its research and development teams.

In addition, Malhotra said transparency is important for the brand. Last year, Love Beauty and Planet released its first sustainability progress report chronicling its successes and shortcomings. The report presented areas of opportunity for the brand to address.

When it comes to how other brands can use advertising in order to promote more sustainable campaigns and products, Malhotra said it’s important for brands to connect with customers and get their feedback so that they can design better products and communicate better.

Follow our full coverage of unBoxed to learn more about our new advertising and marketing tools and dig into the main ideas discussed at Amazon Ads’ annual meeting of the minds.

1 Sustainable Market Share Index™: IRI Purchasing Data Reveals Sustainability Drives Growth, Survives the Pandemic, NYU Stern, Center for Sustainable Business, 2020
2 Meet the 2020 consumers driving change, IBM and the National Retail Federation, US, 2020
3 Environics Research, “Amazon Advertising | Social Values Global Consumer Themes”, US, UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, 2021.
4 Environics Research, “Amazon Advertising | Social Values Global Consumer Themes”, US, UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, 2021.