Improving the Perception of Sustainable Innovation in Europe

Trends / Sustainability
Maxine Ihezie
Jul 6, 2021
When it comes to perception of sustainable innovation, European consumers feel industries create more problems than they solve for the environment.
Green innovation is the key to meeting the sustainable development goals that European governing bodies, organisations and small businesses have agreed to, in line with the 2050 Paris UN Agreement. Yet, according to our Visual GPS research, a number of industries still have some way to go. Our research revealed that European consumers aren't too impressed with the level of sustainable innovation from a number of industriesThis was particularly the case in the UK, Germany the Nordics and France.

Some of worst perceived industries were the financial sector, travel, automotive and clothing which probably comes as no surprise, as conversations around the sustainability of these industries have long existed. All the same, there have been examples of brands from these industries implementing or investing in innovative measures to combat sustainability issues. For example, British bank Lloyds have committed billions of pounds towards sustainable businesses, decarbonation, e‑mobility and renewable energy. In travel, German airline Lufthansa, flew a plane using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) last year ‑ the first CO2‑neutral cargo flight is set to take off from an airport in commercial aviation history.

Despite these efforts, perception remains negative. This presents a clear opportunity for industries to visually communicate the innovative solutions they are developing towards a sustainable future.
Visual Takeaways:

Humanise sustainable innovation. Our ongoing image testing results have shown that consumers respond well to visuals that show a person at the core of sustainable innovation. Use people visuals to connect to the audience so innovation doesn't appear abstract and complex. Think about who is behind the innovation and who is benefiting from the innovation when reflecting your audience.

Show collaborative sustainable innovation. Focus on the concept of collaboration, to show how the best ideas have come about. For example, this could be engineers and technicians conversing to give people confidence that all perspectives and ideas have been taken into account.

Show how sustainable innovation is positively bringing solutions. It's all well and good showing an innovative product or process, but what about the emotional rewards that innovative measures will have on the lives of real people? It could be an electric van delivering a package to a very excited consumer or renewable energy powering up bustling green cities. 

Sustainability is both a crucial challenge and a massive opportunity for brands and economies. As consumers look at brands to do more, visualising innovative measures will be a step in the right direction.

Visualizing Nature-Based Solutions