The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Brand Purpose Brand Strategy The Future of Work

As consumers become more aware of choices, Hyundai doubles down on sustainability message


By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

October 6, 2021 | 5 min read

Brands have seen 18 months of constant flux, with Covid-19 creating economic instability across the globe. But as countries slowly open up and businesses start to get back into the office, their recovery is coinciding with a pivotal time in the fight against climate change. The Drum finds out how brands are reacting to consumers who are becoming ever more aware of their choices, and the expectations and standards they hold brands to.

In a recent survey by the BBC of 27 brands, it found around half of all consumers said they are not aware of brands’ sustainability practices, with finance ranking by far the highest as 63% of all consumers are not aware of financial brands’ sustainability practices.

The research showed that consumers believe that it is important for all brands’ sustainability practices to involve education and research. 83% of consumers believe that brands should invest in education about the importance of sustainability and 79% agree that brands should be financing research for sustainable practices.

For South Korean automotive giant Hyundai, the survey shows the brand is on the right track as it transforms itself from an automotive manufacturer into a Smart Mobility Solutions Provider.

“We want to support environmental sustainability and social wellbeing. To achieve this vision, these messages are prominently integrated throughout our communication toward media, customers and dealers,” explains Florian Büngener, the head of PR and communications for Hyundai Motor in Europe.

“We commute how our focus on local emissions-free products, such as battery-electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, fits into our overall strategy to make the world a better place.”

He adds: “Our goal is to make an emotional connection through products and services that exceed expectations and enhance lives, as well as our corporate and social actions, that deliver shared value and ‘Progress for Humanity.’”

Hyundai is investing in education about the importance of sustainability and financing research for sustainable practices by partnering with Healthy Seas, a marine conservation organization based in the Netherlands.

One of the main pillars of activities Hyundai and Healthy Seas are working on is one focusing on education and raising public awareness about the environmental damage caused by ghost fishing and promoting the ecological and economic importance of healthy seas.

In the hopes of preventing more ocean pollution, this will allow younger generations to learn about the negative effects it can have on marine and human life.

“In terms of research for sustainable practices, in addition to the investments we are making as a company, we are also looking at cooperation like the one with Aquafil. Aquafil transforms and regenerates the reclaimed fishing nets and other nylon waste into ECONYL yarn,” explains Büngener.

“Using more sustainable and recycled materials is very important for our business so IONIQ 5 is the first product that in Europe can be ordered featuring floor mats made with the ECONYL fiber.”

In addition to its partnership with Healthy Seas, consumers can learn about Hyundai’s CSR activities across different media platforms. One example is Hyundai’s recent collaboration with BBC Storyworks on a documentary about its joint activity with Healthy Seas.

The content was available through Hyundai’s sponsorship of the BBC Future Planet webpage and the audience was informed about Healthy Seas’ largest ocean clean-up yet at an abandoned fishing farm in Ithaca, Greece, which saw 76 tonnes of debris removed from the sea, coastline and beaches.

“The interest generated by it even after the actual campaign was over it shows that the messages delivered created the impact needed to make a change, and we look forward to engaging with more partners who support our cause,” says Büngener.

Lori Suchcicki, senior vice-president for advertising partnerships in Europe, Middle East and Africa at BBC Global News, explains that the BBC wants to take the lead in environmental content. By taking cues from the BBC’s audiences, the broadcaster finds the best ways to engage with them, which is why it created BBC Future Planet.

“Knowing our audience well, we understand what interests and motivates them and, through our creative storytelling and production expertise, we seek to engage audiences and help change the world for the better,” she explains.

“We also help brands looking to showcase their sustainability credentials connect with an eco-conscious audience through other platforms. A recent example of this is a series of podcasts we created for Standard Chartered Bank, which aimed to educate audiences on a range of topics – from the bank’s sustainability practices to the challenges involved in decarbonizing the global economy.”

She adds: “In addition, the BBC plays a role in research within the industry, undertaking initiatives such as publishing white papers on the energy use of BBC TV and radio services and helping to widen industry knowledge on how our sector impacts the environment.”

Hyundai recently outlined its vision for carbon neutrality by 2045. To achieve this, it must analyze the environmental impact of a product throughout its entire lifecycle, from the acquisition of raw materials to its operation, disposal and recycling.

“Hyundai provides guidelines within its Code of Conduct for Suppliers and expects that its suppliers will utilize them to improve their environment, society and governance management policies and practices,” says Büngener.

“It follows up by monitoring its suppliers’ ESG activities, requiring them to analyze the results of their actions and asking them to participate in evaluations conducted by outside organizations specializing in such work. The company is improving its systems to strengthen the effectiveness of such analyses and assessments.”

Brand Purpose Brand Strategy The Future of Work

More from Brand Purpose

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +