We presented at the MRS Sustainability Summit 2023

17th January 2024 14:12

The MRS Sustainability Summit in December examined the unique position market researchers, brands and NGOs are in to lead behaviour change when it comes to making more sustainable choices for our planet. Research presentations from a whole host of agencies and clients demonstrated that leadership in sustainability is not only good for our planet, but good for business as well! 

Gill Redfern (Research Director lead for our sustainability market research offer) presented at the summit alongside one of our key account clients (Mark Roberts from WRAP) where they shared a summary of a year-long qual study that we completed in 2022 on how retailers can support customers shift their behaviour towards reuse and refill and away from packaged goods. We identified three retailer strategies to help make reuse and refill easier for shoppers: 

  1. Make pricing clear
  2. Help people overcome uncertainty and apprehension
  3. Make the experience fun and enjoyable

You can watch the video of our presentation at the summit here (it lasts about 20 minutes!). 

Some of our favourite take-outs from the other sessions on the day included:

  • An insight from Mintel that sustainability is a secondary purchase decision driver in most cases, so brands need to think about a ‘soft sell’ on sustainability and focus on more motivating benefits like personal health, product benefits or being a savvy consumer.
  • Kantar supported this notion, but recommended brands should integrate category claims with sustainability claims to make it feel more human/emotional e.g. longer-lasting, cost saving.
  • Boxclever revealed that many consumers are frankly fatigued with hearing about climate change on top of their day-to-day concerns like costs; consumers look to brands to help with that tension between affordability, convenience and sustainability.
  • Encouragingly for businesses, Kantar and Unilever shared that sustainability contributes $193BN across the global top 100 most valuable brands! And when sustainability integration is authentic and credible, it can be a powerful part of a brand’s arsenal. But, inauthentic brands beware; they also introduced a new phrase into our vocabulary #greenhashing - a subset of greenwashing observed in social media specifically!

Finally, the panel shared some suggestions for how research agencies could work towards achieving net zero themselves … and help to embed sustainability across the business!

  • Consider installation of a biomass boiler
  • Plant a green roof
  • Use natural ventilation in the summer (rather than air con)
  • Understand more about employee travel/working habits (office vs. home)
  • Build net zero into the ‘day job’ e.g. travel policy, research methodologies
  • Get everyone involved, make little wins e.g. flow regulators on taps/showers, car share scheme, bike rack at the office to encourage cycling to work, cycle to work scheme, low energy light bulbs, encourage colleagues to take the train rather than drive/fly wherever possible.
  • Develop a sustainable travel policy e.g. UK travel must be by train rather than plane
  • Procurement e.g. refurbed laptops, motion sensor lighting, switch to renewable energy supplier


Alasdair Gleed, Managing Director commented:

"Some interesting insights here from the MRS Sustainability Summit, and I like the suggestion that we can all play a role in leading behaviour change. Perhaps the best starting point for change is to look at yourself which is something we are doing as part of our commitment to the MRS Net Zero pledge. We want to be net zero by 2026 and our first priority has been educating ourselves and engaging our staff around sustainable practices. We want to walk-the-walk before we talk too much talk, so we’ll try to avoid any #greenhashing right now!" 


Read more about our experience in Sustainability market research

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