1 minute reading time (265 words)

Is sustainability just lip service?

Is sustainability just lip service?

​Media analysis company Commetric has posted a piece on how public attitudes to Palm Oil have been shifted by specific interventions - with some brands acting much more quickly than others.

The author, Dimitar Ganev, singles out Iceland as being a winner in this debate. Its ad with Rang-Tan the chimpanzee, lifted from an earlier ad for Greenpeace and thus enabling it to be labelled as "the ad they tried to ban", was a major driver of public opinion.

What's particularly interesting about the piece is that it refers to Iceland as being a perpetually innovative brand in this space, following on from its announcement in the early 2000s to ban GMOs from its own-brand products. Perhaps this is the case for some, but to the majority of its customers, one wonders as to whether it has simply remained a purveyor of low-price freezer food.

The global food majors such as Unilever, Mondelez, and Nestle are scratching around playing catch-up in sustainability. There is perhaps no greater example here than Unilever, who has been buying businesses - "brands with purpose" almost weekly; recent purchases familiar to UK consumers include Graze snacks and Pukka tea. What's interesting here, however, is that whilst Unilever puts its masterbrand logo onto its "trad" products - Domestos, Tresemme, Magnum, and the like - it is not doing so with these recent acquisitions. This implies that Unilever still considers its own brand to offer a negative perception in sustainability, such as in deforestation-related palm oil, which may taint its clean, green, sustainable newly-acquired brands.


Commetric - Palm oil in the media

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