The value of a brand with a sustainable, eco-friendly ethos.

Clean, green, money making machines.

Costa Rica has accomplished a world first – and it is truly astounding!

In recent years, this small Central American state has completely transformed their approach to renewable energy. So much so that last week they achieved a clean energy milestone by using 100% renewable energy for a record 75 days in a row.

So, if an entire nation can make such a stride in limiting their impact on the planet, it begs the question, “Are brands doing enough?”

Of course there are some. Take Patagonia for example, a values-led brand that has built their whole ethos around sustainability. You only need to look at their core purpose to understand how serious they are;

Our Reason for Being – “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

Zara are another great example of a brand that has shown their commitment to the planet. The Spanish retailer are in the process of implementing sustainable practices across all of their operations, with the aim of making 100% of their stores 100% eco-efficient by 2020.

‘Brewing a Better Future’ is another initiative launched by the multinational brewer, Heineken. Here they staked their claim to become the World’s Greenest Brewer by continually improving the environmental impact of their brands.

Overall, it feels like the momentum is building and brands are putting sustainable practices into action. But do consumers really care?

A study by TNS (2014) found that whilst consumers want to be more eco-friendly in their purchases, this is often a consideration secondary to price. Interestingly, it was also found that the associations of a brand significantly impacted how green it was considered to be. Brands like Dove, with a caring and gentle persona, were assumed to be greener purely due to their image, whereas Ryan Air, which are actually one of the greenest airlines, were assumed to be the worst because of their low quality and budget reputation.

I’m not for a second saying that every brand must follow directly in the footsteps of brands like Patagonia – that would be completely unrealistic. However, we should all take inspiration from Costa Rica and dream of a future where sustainability will simply be how all business is done.

TNS Global, 2014. Green Shoots: How to grow your green credentials. Available at:


Will Rees-Hooper