In conversation with Prisila,Correspondent,Asia Business Outlook Magazine. Lynn expresses her perspective on how the price of a product or service influences her inclination to choose a sustainable and socially responsible option over a more budget-friendly but less sustainable alternative.
I'm Lynn, the Managing Director of Kantar China, overseeing consumer insights and spearheading innovation and marketing. Kantar is a global leader in consumer insights, with a significant presence in China. While I'm based in China, we have counterparts in India, where Kantar is the dominant player in the market.
Balancing sustainability and cost in product choices.
In the context of our services, which primarily involve providing marketing insights to brand owners, the consideration of sustainability is a significant factor. We operate in China, where sustainability has become a prominent concern in recent years, both globally and locally. Many brands, particularly those with a global presence, are increasingly emphasizing sustainability in their product development and communication. This heightened awareness is a shared understanding among brand owners. However, the extent to which they implement sustainable strategies varies based on company structure, policies, and overall business strategies. It's not a matter of selecting cost and service; rather, it's about integrating sustainability into their overall brand and business approach.
Corporate social responsibility initiatives in china.
Many companies have increasingly embraced social responsibility, with a particular focus on addressing issues such as air pollution in China. It's important to note that tackling these challenges is a long-term endeavor, as air pollution had adverse effects on people's lives several years ago. Government interventions, such as regulating vehicle usage based on license plate numbers, have played a role in reducing air pollution. Moreover, some organizations have made significant contributions by relocating their manufacturing operations to suburban areas, thereby minimizing pollution in city centers.
Beyond environmental concerns, social responsibility extends to initiatives like supporting disabled individuals through charity activities. These activities involve teaching new skills and offering regular support to help them lead more fulfilling lives. These efforts are not merely obligations but are seen as an essential part of a larger organization's role in society.
EV adoption is rising, reflecting the public's eagerness to embrace cleaner energy options and enhance efficiency.
Furthermore, these actions contribute to building a positive reputation for organizations. Companies that engage in social responsibility activities are often viewed favorably by consumers, enhancing their brand image. For example, a certain beer brand's consistent support for various causes, from low-tier cities to remote regions like Tibet, has garnered them a strong reputation for responsibility. Such reputations are not easily undermined and have become a valuable asset in recent years for brands looking to differentiate themselves.
Elevating sustainability and CSR initiatives: Key steps for Chinese companies.
It is crucial for us to underscore and bolster our commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. While we hold strong awareness and values in this regard, there remains a noticeable gap when it comes to practical implementation, especially in comparison to other nations. The disconnection between our professed attitudes and real-world actions is a key concern. We are willing to engage in these efforts, but we need clear guidance as a Chinese company to ensure that our initiatives genuinely benefit society and fulfill our responsibilities. Neglecting sustainability could hinder our long-term growth prospects and even lead to the eventual disappearance of our brand, as we've observed in the Chinese market with some internet-based brands that prioritize short-term commercial success over social impact and long-term sustainability.
"Businesses can harness social responsibility not merely as a token gesture, but as a means to connect with their consumers and foster brand loyalty."
Recent shifts in sustainability and CSR strategies of Chinese companies.
In recent years, sustainability has gained significant attention, marking a notable shift in societal awareness. This growing concern is not confined to any specific region but appears to be a global phenomenon. People have recognized the importance of sustainability, not just for personal benefit but also for the greater good of society. The COVID-19 pandemic has played a pivotal role in this transformation, influencing people's behavior and fostering a heightened sense of well-being and survival. The extended lockdowns of the past year emphasized the significance of resources and the need to share them responsibly. As a result, individuals now have a stronger connection to their communities and a deeper commitment to safeguarding the environment. This post-COVID era has made these sustainability issues increasingly transparent. Moreover, businesses are also beginning to view sustainability as a distinguishing factor in addition to cost and quality, marking a shift in the market landscape.
Public perception of companies utilizing marketing for sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
Sustainability in China has undergone a significant transformation. It's no longer just about addressing pollution; it now encompasses a wider spectrum, including resource conservation and responsible choices like electric vehicles (EVs). EV adoption is rising, reflecting the public's eagerness to embrace cleaner energy options and enhance efficiency. Sustainability extends beyond environmental concerns, encompassing social responsibility, like reducing water usage and avoiding plastic waste. This change is not solely driven by marketing efforts; it's become a shared societal goal. The challenge lies in crafting messages that resonate and inspire individuals to make a positive impact. While there's growing awareness, a universal commitment is not yet in place. The focus now is on communicating practical steps for a healthier planet.
Prospects for sustainability and corporate social responsibility in China.
The growing focus on sustainability is a pivotal aspect of today's business landscape. Many companies have recognized its strategic significance, with strong government support. This trend is also evident in numerous organizations emphasizing sustainability in their operations. Alongside this, social responsibility is taking center stage, contributing positively to market maturity. Businesses can harness social responsibility not merely as a token gesture, but as a means to connect with their consumers and foster brand loyalty. By integrating social responsibility into their daily practices and product messaging, companies can distinguish themselves in the market. This distinction, rooted in genuine care for social and environmental issues, not only adds value to their brand but can also lead to long-term profitability, as consumers increasingly appreciate and support such efforts.