Culture plays a big part in consumer sustainability perceptions

Brand Sustainability Perception and the Role of Cultural Differences

Dalia developed the Brand Sustainability Perception Index (SPI) to provide companies with a public view of their sustainability efforts. This post looks at the nuances between some of the cultures included in the Index.

Cultural context in research

Culture plays a big role in how consumers perceive brand sustainability.

Dalia took a deeper look into the results of the Sustainability Perception Index (SPI) to get a better understanding of how brands are seen across cultures.

China and India place environmental responsibility on the individual

Firstly, who do people think is responsible for change when it comes to the environment? There is a strong difference between emerging markets and Western Europe.

China and India place responsibility on individuals above governments and companies (at 53% and 39% respectively).

While both France and Germany conversely place higher responsibility on companies (30% and 27% respectively) and governments (33% and 31% respectively) than on the individual.

China and India are less critical of brands than France or Germany

Results of the scores of how people rated brands are in line with this trend. Both China and India, who placed less responsibility on companies to initiate environmental change, have an overall more positive opinion of brands (or a “Yes bias”).

On the other side of the spectrum, France and Germany, those who place the highest responsibility on companies to act on environmental issues, are the most critical of brands. 

Environmentally-aware countries vs. emerging markets

Furthermore, those consumers who are more critical when rating brands as sustainable (France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain) are all in countries that have signed the 2012 Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol committing to CO2 emissions cuts. Higher awareness and scrutiny of companies could explain these results. People in Western Europe also have a much higher carbon footprint than those in emerging markets. 

In emerging markets, brands may not face as much scrutiny - but this should not invite complacency. Western luxury brands Versace, Coach and Givenchy experienced backlash in China in recent times for designs perceived to disrespect local political sensitivities. 

To access results to your own environmental responsibility question, alongside brand and category-specific sustainability insights, explore Dalia’s sustainability tracker here.

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For more press inquiries about this post, please contact: 
Stephanie Clapham, Research Director
Phone: +49 (0)30 610 80 3703