New Study: Marketers Feel Frustrated in Their Desire to Drive More Sustainability Efforts

LeafA majority of marketers believe sustainability investment pays off but their boards are underinvesting

March 9, 2017 – The vast majority (83%) of marketers feel a moral imperative to incorporate sustainability practices into business, yet only 38% of the companies they work for do not have a defined sustainability strategy, according to a new global survey of over 200 brands and agencies conducted by The Drum in collaboration with gyro.

The report, entitled “Mind the Gap: How Marketers Feel About Sustainability,” explores how marketers rate their organization’s approach to sustainability, how they view their role in driving sustainability practices alongside the C-suite, and the barriers they encounter.

The key findings include:

Good for the world, good for the brand: 54% of marketers feel that investing in sustainability will positively influence the perception of their brand.

Lack of strategic leadership: 52% of the marketers surveyed do not believe (or are not sure) that their organization has a sustainability strategy.

More collaboration among competitors: Over half (55%) of marketers are happy to collaborate with competitors around common sustainability issues.

Boost the bottom line: A significant proportion (43%) of the marketers surveyed believe that investing in sustainability initiatives improves the bottom line.

Competitive advantage for now and the future: Likewise, 41% of respondents agree that sustainability initiatives will be a key source of competitive advantage over the next five years.

A need for C-suite influence: Fifty-one percent of respondents feel as though the board of directors/C-suite is clearly the driving force behind sustainability within the organization, followed equally by marketing and sales (32%) and operations (32%).

Christoph Becker,  Global ceo+cco of gyro, said: “Nothing is more humanly relevant than sustainability. Now is the time for business to drive positive and necessary change. Because sustainability isn’t just about business, it is about the future of life itself. As this groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind study proves, a company’s stated approach to sustainability is the primary marker that shows it is living up to its stated ideals.”

“At a time when we are all seeking truth, losing trust in political systems as well as private enterprises, we need a new narrative of growth,” said Kate Howe, Managing Director of gyro London. “A narrative that is humanly relevant, builds trust, and ultimately leads to an integrated approach where businesses can come together to work towards a common goal — that of managing the impact of the communities that we live in, and the communities our children and our grandchildren will eventually inherit – that’s sustainability.”

“While marketers already understand the soft benefits of sustainability, they are also starting to see the hard returns,” said gyro Global Chief Strategy Officer Patrick O’Hara. “Our survey shows that business people – especially marketers – are increasingly aware that sustainability has hard business benefits including greater brand favorability, operational efficiencies, and competitive advantage.”


About gyro

As the world’s first full-service global creative B2B powerhouse, our mission is to create ideas that are humanly relevant. gyro is Advertising Age’s 2016 B2B Agency of the Year and the BMA’s 2016, 2015 and 2014 Global B2B Agency of the Year. Our 700 creative minds in 16 offices work with top companies, including Aflac, Danone, eBay, Google, HP, John Deere, TD Ameritrade, Teva, USG and Vodafone. gyro is a part of the Denstu Aegis Network, which is the 2017 MediaPost Holding Company of the Year.