Highest level of greenwashing is perceived in Social Media – one of the sectors most associated with mental health concerns
SINGAPORE, Nov. 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Mental health now enters the top 10 of sustainability concerns to address in APAC ranking #7 from #11 in 2022, according to the 2023 Kantar Sustainability Sector Index. Social concerns such as mental health are on the rise this year in APAC with increasing poverty (#2 in 2023, #15 in 2022) and economic inequality concerns (#4 in 2023, #9 in 2022). Environmental concerns headlined by climate change (#1) and air pollution (#3) continue to worry all age groups and incomes in the region.
Mental health is now a top 10 concern in all markets surveyed across APAC except Indonesia. It is particularly critical in Australia (#1), the Philippines (#4) and Japan (#5). In developed markets like Australia and Japan where inflation and the ongoing rise in cost-of-living is wreaking havoc on households and impacting mental health, poverty is also an important issue (#4 in both markets). Poverty remains the top concern for developing countries Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines and ranks #4 in India.
Kantar’s APAC Head of Sustainability, Trezelene Chan says the study reveals a very clear directive for businesses to take leadership in sustainability and work to solve the region’s growing environmental and social issues.
“It highlights the increasing necessity to think about how both environmental and social needs may intersect and how brands must move risk mitigation from evolution of change to a revolution of change. We waited for a global pandemic to drive digital transformation – and we can’t afford for a climate or social crisis to kick us to act. Businesses must shift their mindsets today from sustainability as a cost and risk compliance to one of value creation.”
Nine in 10 people in APAC want to live a sustainable lifestyle (88%) but just one-third are actively changing their behaviour (34%). The study also reveals that six in 10 are prepared to invest time and money to support companies that try to do good (58%), and over half actively seek ways to offset their impact on the environment (56%) and have stopped buying certain things because of their impact (52%).
“The massive gap between intention and action hasn’t gone away, which makes the role of companies to solve consumer sustainability tensions even more critical,” says Chan.
There are particularly high levels of greenwashing perceived across all sectors in APAC
On average, three in five people in APAC have seen or heard false or misleading information about sustainable actions taken by brands (60% compared to 52% globally). Across APAC markets, it is highest in India (77%), Philippines (76%) and Thailand (74%) and lowest in Japan (37%).
Social media has the highest scores of both green and social washing with the Sustainability Sector Index showing that social media is most associated with mental health issues. The data also shows that social media is strongly associated with social isolation and loneliness, racist content or behaviours, social inequalities and harassment, and abuse or violence against women. Social issues and misinformation/content that these platforms enable can be overwhelmingly high.
“We were expecting to see evidence of consumer concerns in this study, but are astonished to see such consistently high levels of perceived greenwashing and/or social washing across all sectors, which suggests that lack of trust is a big issue across the board,” says Chan.
An opportunity for social media brands to step up and address social issues
Further analysis from Kantar ranked social media’s sustainability performance across the region (64 points) and discovered Indonesia (81 points) and India (74 points) rank way over Australia (-3 points). This analysis tells us that social media brands in Indonesia and India can lead and build a more meaningful connection to environmental and social issues (mental-wellbeing and reduced social inequalities). While in Australia, brands with ambition to show leadership must seek stretch opportunities and radical innovation as people would need to be presented with something significantly different to shake their perceptions.
“Across all sectors, there are a handful of brands in APAC making sustainable propositions and experiences easy, meaningful and rewarding for consumers to engage with them. But it’s imperative to take local market and cultural nuances into consideration. For example, where consumers are particularly sceptical of greenwashing, overall perceptions of sustainability performance differ making country-specific dynamics critical to understand.”
“It can be done. Value can be created. But we need more businesses to rethink sustainability across the spectrum of key environmental and social issues, and how they can solve consumer needs and concerns of today to drive adoption of sustainable behaviours and living. Continuing to drive the demand side of the equation will flow through into the value chain for radical transformations that will step change how we all consume and live sustainably,” concludes Chan.
To find out more about Kantar’s Sustainability Sector Index 2023 join the free webinar: ‘The Great Sustainability Debate in APAC” on Thursday, 23 November 2023.
All figures unless stated are from the Kantar Sustainability Sector Index 2023.
Kantar is the world’s leading marketing data and analytics business and an indispensable brand partner to the world’s top companies, including 96 of the world’s 100 biggest advertisers. We combine the most meaningful attitudinal and behavioural data with deep expertise and technology platforms to track how people think and act. We help clients develop the marketing strategies that shape their future and deliver sustainable growth. www.kantar.com
About the Sustainability Sector Index
With data insights taken from 32,000 interviews across 42 sectors in 33 countries, Kantar’s Sustainability Sector Index 2023 is a landmark study that empowers marketers to build the foundations of their brand’s sustainability strategy and activation plan in a consumer-relevant way. It identifies what really matters to consumers, how they behave and how they currently perceive a sector. The Index is shaped to show where and how brands can credibly play and enables marketers to unlock engagement and reap commercial rewards and connect strategy with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
 The 2023 Sustainability Sector Index in APAC covered the following countries and regions: Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand
 Perceptions of sectors have been collected on polarising 7pt scales – from negative impact to positive impact. The index goes from -100 to 100 to reflect a sector’s performance relative to others and whether it is deemed to have an overall positive impact or negative impact on driving sustainable transformation.
View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/apac/news-releases/mental-health-now-in-top-10-apac-sustainability-concerns-joining-climate-change-air-pollution-and-poverty-301995860.html