BuzzBack + The Rainforest Alliance Kick Off Earth Month with Findings from a New Global Study on Sustainability


Just in time for Earth Month, BuzzBack, an innovator in market research, and the Rainforest Alliance, a nonprofit organization committed to promoting environmental, social and economic sustainability, has teamed up for a new global study on Sustainability. Many of today’s top consumer product and pharma companies are focused on Sustainability – yet the language and vocabulary that consumers use about it reflect a more diffuse understanding of the concept. The study reveals that marketers and consumers are not on the same Sustainability page, posing a challenge for those developing, branding and selling Earth friendly products.

“This new study highlights the challenge today’s marketers face when it comes to incorporating Sustainability into their positioning,” explained Carol Fitzgerald, founder & President of BuzzBack Market Research, “Simply, the top of mind associations consumers have with Sustainability (recycling, natural, green) don’t connect to their personal values when it comes to the idea (social responsibility, responsibility, moral). Further, these associations may not be relevant for all brands. And even though 80% or more consumers say that having a sustainable label on the package makes them more likely to purchase a product, the reality is that loyalty is tough to maintain. Today’s consumers want brands that align with their personal values and are making a difference in areas, concerns or causes that are meaningful to them.”

“Despite the challenges of incorporating the word sustainability into brand messaging, as highlighted in this study, we have yet to identify a suitable alternative that single handedly describes environmental, social and economic viability,” said Tensie Whelan president of the Rainforest Alliance. “Rather than only focusing on the positive impacts of environmental sustainability, marketers should focus on the all-encompassing benefits of sustainability in terms of promoting a healthier environment, improved living conditions and enhanced livelihoods.”

Over 2000 participants across the US, UK, China, Brazil and India participated in BuzzBack’s study that, sought to understand how the word Sustainability resonated among consumers. The research found that consumers’ associations with sustainability tend to be literal – words that come to mind are recycling, natural and preservation. In fact, the efforts of companies with Sustainability initiatives is a great deal larger than that. Of those surveyed:

  • Over two-thirds associate the word Sustainable with ‘environmentally friendly’ and ‘natural’ or ‘preserving’
  • More Gen X and Millennials say having a label of sustainability is important to them, compared to Boomers
  • More Boomers talk about Sustainability relative to the future — preserving the environment for future generations
  • But only about half of respondents hear the word Sustainable mentioned occasionally or very often, with little change in mention in the US When it comes to products associations, ‘recycle/recycled products,’ ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ or ‘green’ are top mentions across food, personal care, paper products, wood products and electronics

For more information, including differences by market and age segments, visit or email


About BuzzBack

Since April 2000, BuzzBack has been an innovator in online market research, delivering fast, meaningful and actionable insights to a growing list of global companies. For more than twelve years, BuzzBack has helped major global consumer, pharmaceutical, and financial services companies successfully connect to their customers, develop advertising, and introduce hundreds of new products– in over 40 countries. The company’s techniques and researchers have been recognized by the industry for research distinction with numerous awards. BuzzBack is a woman-owned diversity supplier headquartered in New York.

About Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance is a global nonprofit that works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travellers. From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, businesses and consumers worldwide are involved in the Rainforest Alliance’s efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily. For more information, visit


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