Searches for sustainable products on the rise, but few companies responding

Only those companies and industries that are already under pressure to advertise their ethical credentials are being transparent about their sustainable practices, according to digital agency Insight Online.

Kim Voon, Insight Online CEO, said if sustainability impacts a company or a sector, it takes steps to be transparent about ethics, products and services.

“For the fisheries and plastics sectors there are obviously issues around fishing practices and plastic pollution, and those industries will tend to be more vocal about what they are doing, this includes search engine optimisation companies because the industry is riddled with unscrupulous, unqualified people practising what many consider a ‘dark art’,” Voon said.

Voon said Kiwis are increasingly searching Google for ethical products and services, but most local companies are still using traditional sales-driven advertising messages and few are being transparent about ethics, products and services. It remains, for them, an effective strategy.

“However, I think local companies are missing out on an opportunity,” he said. “We can see that searches for ethical terms, ‘like sustainable fashion’ or ‘sustainable seafood’, are rising.”


“More and more consumers want to buy products and services that are ethical,” Voon said.

Voon said if consumer trends continue as they are, ethics will soon enough become something of a non-negotiable requirement.

He said companies not only need to be considering the triple bottom line in terms of how they do business, they also need to talk about it.

“This applies particularly where trust is becoming an issue,” he said.

“Activists certainly are only going to get more vocal and businesses need to respond or lose out to companies that do.”

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