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Brand Strategy Climate Crisis Survey

25% of marketers cite sustainability as ‘general goal’ rather than employ specific metrics


By John Glenday, Reporter

November 12, 2021 | 4 min read

A global survey of marketers conducted by Warc has thrown up a pronounced shortfall in the ability of marketers to measure their progress on sustainability, with 25% viewing the hot button topic as a ‘general goal’ rather than employing any specific metrics.


Brands are now having to consider sustainable practices alongside traditional growth metrics

The Marketers Toolkit 2022 is designed to help brands position themselves to meet the challenges of the year ahead through a combination of proprietary research and analysis.

Sustainability scrutiny

  • Consumers are holding their corporate feet to the fire over their sustainability records (or lack thereof), forcing brands to consider sustainable practices alongside traditional growth metrics.

  • This climate has led 46% of survey respondents to ascribe equal importance to financial growth and the environment through measures such as streamlined packaging and distribution, as well as taking a public stance on climate matters.

  • There remain significant challenges in terms of quantifying progress on sustainability, however, with 25% citing the nebulous concept as a ‘general goal’ rather than employing specific metrics to gauge their success.

  • Many marketers are choosing to measure their media’s carbon output as a start point, but that’s proving difficult to track at the moment.

What do brands say?

  • Demanding action to redress this, Martha Velando, chief marketing officer at DeBeers, said: “Today, consumers expect brands to do what they say, have the right values and be able to tangibly show what they’re doing to make a positive impact in communities and on the environment. It’s our duty to be true to our word, and to make sure that we find the right mechanisms to show progress we’re making toward those goals.”

  • Robbie Millar, vice-president of global marketing at Carlsberg, added: “Things that Carlsberg brands might highlight, such as reduction of water use, will be factual. If we’re using greener inks, it’s factual. If there’s less plastic in snap-packs, it’s factual. We want to make sure that what our brands get involved with is true.”

Advertising pivot point

  • Converging crises, from privacy to the pandemic and the environment, have created a climate of change in advertising, with 52% of those surveyed by Warc seeking ’new measures of effectiveness.’

  • In this context, 54% of respondents view market penetration and customer gain as the most important barometer of effectiveness – up from 44% the year before.

  • In all, 42% of those quizzed acknowledged the need to invest in new technologies to measure audiences.

  • This coincides with 97% of respondents stating that pandemic-induced consumer behaviors are here to stay and will impact their marketing strategies through 2022 and beyond.

Social commerce on the rise

  • No less than 75% of brands in the Warc survey propose to increase spending on social commerce via livestreams and shoppable media.

  • A greater proportion (78%) expect to spend more on e-commerce and 25% are going the full hog by integrating their e-commerce and digital branding teams.


  • The study draws on insights gleaned from over 1,500 marketers and 25 leading chief marketing officers, with an emphasis on society, technology, economy, policy, industry and creativity.

Brand Strategy Climate Crisis Survey

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WARC is a marketing intelligence service that helps you gain knowledge, stay on top of change and uncover insights and trends. 

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