Perspective is everything. There is a famous quote from Confucius which speaks to its importance.

“Everybody has two lives. The second begins when we realise we just have one.”

This realisation rings as true for brands as it does for people. And the second life for brands is just beginning – as the era of unconscious consumption ends.

 

Our needs have changed. We can no longer accept commercial growth at the expense of environmental cost. There is a clear demand for sustainable growth from not only consumers – but investors and our planet itself. And CPG brands are on the frontline of this transition. 

  • Over 85% of consumers have developed ‘greener’ purchasing habits in the last two years – while more than a third are now willing to pay more for environmentally sustainable products. 
  • A large-scale study of CPG purchases found 50% of CPG growth between 2013 and 2018 was driven by sustainability-marketed products.
  •  Research finds 77% of consumers believe the onus is on CPG brands to ensure their products get recycled. 

Unconscious consumption is making way for sustainable growth.

At Butterfly, we know that this change requires a fresh perspective. We need to redefine our approach to innovation – and understand what success looks like in this new landscape.  

 

Real long term value

To be sustainable is to be able to maintain something at a defined pace. To uphold and defend a practice over time. 

Sustainable growth is the business of aligning innovation, profit and purpose. Innovative ideas have to justify shelf space – and fit in with the growth ambitions of your business. 

I have seen first-hand how challenging this can be for CPG brands due to their structure. These businesses are often endlessly chasing short-term growth. Shareholder pressures mean incremental growth – often delivered through faux innovations such as new formats and flavours – is prioritised over-investing in genuinely transformative innovation. 

It is no surprise that 85% of CPG innovations vanish from shelves within two years. All of the resources, time and creativity that are thrown at these products are unable to drive any long-term growth. Not only for the brand, its talent and its customers. But for its shareholders too. 

Investment has followed organisations prioritising sustainability. ESG funds more than doubled in 2020, capturing over $50 billion in new investment and often outperforming the S&P 500. 

Former Unilever CEO Paul Polman summed up the perspective of modern investors. “We want to see how a company can profit from solving the world’s problems, not creating them.” 

Brands that apply a sustainable mindset to commercial and environmental decisions, those who marry profit and purpose at every step, are best placed to deliver what consumers and investors want most: long-term value. 

 

Expand your Horizons

Everybody has two lives. But we only have one planet. Thankfully, the second life for CPG brands is only just beginning. 

Unconscious consumption is unsustainable. Brands must think long term if they are to meet the demands of modern consumers. 

 

We at Butterfly are delivering a series of masterclasses exploring how CPG brands can drive Sustainable Growth in FY22. The session is designed to help brands redefine their business, identify the biggest trends and societal shifts and understand the implications for growth. Reframing the question of ‘what does my business do’ – to ‘what business am I in’. 

Our first interactive Masterclass session – ‘Expand your Horizons to create your own Growth Opportunity Map’ – takes place on Wednesday the 30th of March at 3pm BST / 10am ET.

We will be joined on our virtual sofa by:

Floris Cobelens, Director of Global Strategy & Innovation, Heineken

Koen Burghouts, Vice President & General Manager, PepsiCo

Thomas Fenger, Head of Product, Lego

Secure your ticket here.