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Consumers want FMCG sector to tackle plastic waste and packaging

MEDIA RELEASE: September 21 2021: FMCG companies will be able to benchmark and act on their social and environmental performance using research firm Glow’s inaugural FMCG Social & Environmental Responsibility Report, a milestone in the progress of the CSR/ESG agenda.

The report outlines key social and environmental issues that consumers expect the FMCG sector to address. The first report reveals plastic and packaging waste and ethical sourcing as being key focus areas for the sector.

As part of the report, Glow has also developed a Social Responsibility Score which ranks the FMCG sector against 30 other industries. In this first survey, FMCG tops the rankings with a score of 26, closely followed by the Arts, Culture and Music sector at 25, Universities at 24, Restaurants, Cafes and Bars at 21 and Retailers at 19.

At the other end of the scale Gambling and Sports Betting was at the bottom of the table with minus 19, followed by Natural Resource Extraction at minus 8. Surprisingly, Social Media platforms were third bottom at minus 1, Media and News Networks fourth bottom with a score of one, the same as Real Estate and Property Agents.

The score is derived by asking consumers to rate how environmentally and socially responsible they consider the sector or brandto be. This has been validated as a leading indicator of brand health, with a series of studies over 18 months proving a strong correlation between the Social Responsibility Score with Brand Trust, willingness to pay a premium and Bain’s Net Promoter Score.

The data for the report is drawn from Glow’s social responsibility program Catalyst and its commercial research programs.

Glow Founder and CEO Tim Clover said the FMCG sector had worked hard in recent years to reduce its environmental impact, for example, Coles announcing in July that it was ending its wildly popular Little Shop Collectibles as part of its new sustainability campaign.

Whilst the FMCG industry’s overall Social Responsibility Score was strong, there are clear expectations from consumers about where the sector still needs to focus.

The No.1 issue consumers expect the sector to address is plastic waste and packaging with 48% of consumers expecting the sector to address the issue. Ethical Sourcing was also deemed a high priority.

The report also scores individual brands. Mr Clover said a brand’s Social Responsibility Score is an increasingly important hygiene factor that is critical for boardrooms to monitor and investors to assess to ensure the rising tide of social concern does not leave them stranded on the shelves.

Within the FMCG sector, Cadbury is a standout brand scoring 12% higher than the category social responsibility score. “This reflects the investment from Mondelez and the Cadbury brand in major programs to address packaging recycling, supply chain management through Cocoa Life and use of renewable electricity,” Mr Clover said.

Mondelez, also a Partner of Glow’s Catalyst program, has volunteered the use of their brand and social responsibility score as a showcase brand in the new industry report.

Paul Chatfield, the Senior Marketing Director, ANZ for Mondelez said: “Since the Cadbury family founded their iconic business back in 1824, we’ve always had a strong purpose. This remains the case today where the challenges faced by our planet are clear for us to see, and our consumers have never been better informed or enjoyed so much choice on supermarket shelves. Cadbury fans rightly expect us to be making a positive contribution to address the challenges they see in their communities.”

Mr Clover said the report marks an important milestone in the progress and development of the CSR/ESG agenda.

“Increasingly investors, employees, customers and consumers want to see businesses taking action on these important social and environmental issues. This report enables industries and brands to start to assess their own performance against issues that matter to their stakeholders.”

Website: Glow

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