By George Vann, Head of Marketing at Finn


1. START with supply chain authenticity

As consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of their purchasing habits, FMCG brands are making their business models more sustainable.

  • 93% of the world’s 250 biggest companies now report on supply chain sustainability.
  • 68% of GB consumers in 2019 agree that companies should be penalised for failing to care for the environment.
  • 60% of UK companies with 5000+ staff cited consumer demand as being the primary driver in their commitment toward achieving supply chain sustainability.


Leaders in supply chain authenticity include:

Harrison Spinks

The most vertically-integrated bed manufacturer in the world.  From growing their own hemp on a 300-acre farm, to drawing their own wires for springs, full control over their supply chain has allowed Harrison Spinks to become Carbon Neutral Plus certified and 100% glue free, as well as winning a Queen’s Award for sustainable innovation.

Tony’s Chocolonely

Tony’s Chocolonely is on a bold mission to make the choco chain 100% slave free by paying more to cocoa farmers. Right now, child slavery on cocoa farms in Ghana and the Ivory Coast is a result of the unequally divided cocoa chain. Tony’s exists to change that, and prove to the market leaders that it’s possible to make slave free chocolate, and be commercially successful.


H&M is a brand renowned for its work to make fast fashion more sustainable. The retailer will accomplish 100% sustainable cotton sourcing this year and has pledged to reach 100% recycled or sustainable materials across its supply chain by 2030. The brand has also started using AI to forecast demand and therefore minimise waste.


2. Transparency is the NEW accountability

In a world where transparency is integral and people’s online attention spans are shorter than ever, it’s more important that brands communicate sustainable activity in relevant ways.

  • Online attention spans dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to just 8 seconds in 2018.
  • Shoppers are increasingly demanding transparency and a closer connection to their food- so much so that 75% say they’ll switch to a brand that provides more in-depth product info, beyond what’s presented on the physical label.
  • 80% of AR end users spend more than one full minute within each published Web AR experience.


Leaders in supply transparent accountability:

Yorkshire Tea

Yorkshire Tea’s use of AR for its “Yorkshire Tree” activation let users explore the sustainability campaign through animations, videos and mini-games.


Unilever has been trialling ‘ethical adtech’ where anyone who watches one of its video ads online can choose which charity to donate 50% of the ad revenue to.


Ice cream brand Walls engaged consumers in its sustainability story by using QR technology. Consumers could easily scan an on-pack code which took them into a rich environment on their mobile that told the story of Walls’ sustainable action.


3. The search is ON for clean food

As consumer awareness grows of the environmental and physical impacts of sustainable farming consumers have an increased awareness of good practice as well as nutritious value.

  • Over ⅓ of UK consumers check the content of packaged meat products for quality and provenance purposes.
  • Sustainable farming grew for the eighth consecutive year and sales of organic produce are on target to hit £2.5bn by the end of 2020 according to a report from The Soil Association.
  • Shoppers typically make two more monthly trips to buy clean food than they did five years ago.


Leaders in Clean food:


This is a snack brand with a twist. It uses upcycled organic grain which would otherwise be wasted through the beer production process, turning it into tasty and healthy treats.

The Meatless Farm

A brand on a mission to change the way we eat meat. The brand uses natural meat alternatives using plant-based ingredients; from pea protein to chicory root.  Just like meat The Meatless Farm’s fresh food is a high source of protein but it’s better for the environment than its meat counterpart.


The vegetable grain that tastes and feels just like traditional white rice. It’s made from lentils, chickpeas, and peas, so it contains more than two times the protein and five times the fibre of white rice. It’s also better for the environment than growing white rice, which equates to around 12% of global annual emissions.


4. To Conclude

Shifting to a sustainable economy represents a profound challenge for business and society – and a critical one, one that brings unique opportunities for innovation, exploration and collaboration.

As consumer interest in brand behaviour continues to increase at the same time as our attention spans decrease, existing and new technology creates new ways to better engage consumers with brand transparency and sustainability.

An increased understanding of both the health and environmental repercussions of the manufacturing of processed foods means people will continue to look to brands for more natural and healthier alternatives.

At Finn we are helping our clients to navigate the complex new world of FMCG sustainability. We work closely with them to understand what matters most as well as to harness the trends that shape consumer behaviour today and tomorrow. We are a communications agency that makes brands matter. Because when brands matter to consumers they enjoy sustained and profitable growth.