THREE Western brands are leading in sustainability efforts in the Philippines, based on perceptions of locals, according to a national study released by a research firm and a data provider.

The report, titled “Philippines Sustainability Study,” ran in November last year and surveyed 752 individuals. The report was written by research firm Blackbox Research, and data and insights platform Dynata.

The top three brands that received higher scores in the study’s brand sustainability index are Google (1.47), YouTube (1.37), and Nestle (1.27). Meanwhile, Asian brands Samsung and Shopee were the only ones that “ranked above average,” with scores of 1.13 and 1.04, respectively.

The report’s brand sustainability index takes into consideration the perception of locals on how the various brands worked in the interest of people, planet and economy, and how individuals wanted to see these brands contribute to sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Despite the findings, Blackbox Research Chief Operating Officer Saurabh Sardana said that there was a “strong opportunity” for progressive local brands to connect with consumers by becoming more sustainable, especially now since the pandemic has halted the country’s efforts in achieving its SDGs.

The report said that the country had been making significant headway in implementing the United Nations’ SDGs, with the national poverty rate declining to 16.6% in 2018 from 23.3% in 2015.

“While our study found global companies dominating the market in this respect, Blackbox Research believes that progressive Filipino brands can lead the way when it comes to pioneering sustainable business that would help create a brighter future for all, while winning the hearts, minds, and spending power of consumers,” Mr. Sardana said in a press release.

The study’s findings also showed that 96% of Filipinos were willing to buy sustainable brands.

“Nearly all Filipinos are more open to brands that are sustainable… This finding is consistent across age groups, gender, and even educational levels,” the report said.

For Mr. Sardana, the study’s findings showed that “sustainable capitalism made business sense in the long term.”

“Our research makes it clear that this has major economic implications, given that Filipinos have demonstrated a preference for brands that are sustainable,” he said.

Further, the report found out that Filipinos wanted businesses to focus on three key sustainability areas. These are: ensuring economic growth by providing employment for all; promoting interconnectivity and equitable trading systems between countries; and responsible consumption and production. — Angelica Y. Yang