The survey, conducted independently by leading Dubai-based market research company 4SiGHT, was commissioned by Phillip Morris Management Services (Middle East) Limited (PMMS) to better understand how an organisation’s efforts towards sustainable practices play a role in consumer decisions and which efforts are most important.
Drawing on the findings of more than 2,000 respondents across the three GCC states, the survey revealed that the majority (76 percent) agree that sustainability efforts of a company are likely to positively impact their choice in buying their products. Meanwhile, among KSA and UAE participants, 84 percent and 81 percent respectively agree that it is important for a company to act sustainably. Similarly, across KSA, UAE, and Kuwait, 68% of respondents said that they would pay more for an item if the company selling it demonstrated sustainable practices.
Digging deeper, the survey also revealed the corporate sustainability efforts considered most relevant to consumers today. Although all efforts were considered highly relevant, respondents identified the need to protect the environment through sustainable practices that address social and environmental challenges, like child labour and agricultural workers, as being most relevant at an average of 94.3 percent across the three countries. Additionally, when asked about their environmental concerns, pollution was identified as the most concerning factor (64 percent in Kuwait, 56 percent in KSA, and 61 percent in UAE).
Meanwhile, the majority of respondents across all nations believed that committing to environmental, social and governance goals best defined a company as ‘sustainable’, suggesting that tangible action is now a necessity if a company is to engage with consumers.
“The survey findings highlight the need for businesses to commit to sustainable practices because their consumers recognize the importance of protecting the environment now and in the future.” commented Tarkan Demirbas, area vice president, PMMS. “Businesses need to clearly define goals and hold themselves accountable to the promises that they are making. Being a more sustainably minded company brings a clear competitive advantage as the survey shows.”
The survey comes at a highly relevant time in Phillip Morris International’s (PMI) own transformation as the company continues to make strides towards a more sustainable future. Most notably, PMI has committed to setting an ambitious goal, with at least 40 million current adult smokers to have switched to its smoke-free products by 2025, and for smoke-free products to account for more than 50 percent of total net revenues by 2025.
The company has recently expanded its own sustainability metrics and goals with a particular focus on achieving its smoke-free vision. Earlier this year, PMI released its 2021 Integrated Report, which outlines the company’s sustainability commitments and progress toward the same. According to the report’s sustainability index, PMI is working to increase the shipment ratio of its smoke-free products by 30 percent by 2025, while also growing the number of markets it sells smoke-free products in from 70 in 2022 to 100, also by 2025.