Sustainable Brand Index™ B2C

Sustainable Brand Index™ B2B


about the study

about the study

- WHAT IS Sustainable Brand Index™ - business to consumer?

Sustainable Brand Index™ is the Nordics ́ largest independent brand study focused on sustainability. Based on more than a 1000 brands and over 40,000 consumer interviews in the Nordics and The Netherlands, the study looks at how sustainable brands are perceived to be, why they are perceived this way and what to do about it. The study also includes a comprehensive trend analysis, consumer behaviour analysis and strategic recommendations. Sustainable Brand Index™ B2C consists of the following parts:

  • Trends & Future Analysis

Review of what has happened in the rest of the world and on the market over the last year, and, above all, the emerging trends we see in each industry.

  • The Sustainable Consumer

A mapping of who the sustainable consumer is, what drives and hinders sustainable behaviours, and emerging consumption patterns.

  • Brand Analysis Focusing on Sustainability

Evaluation and analysis of how sustainable each brand is perceived, why it is perceived so and how it should be handled in the best possible way.

- HOW LONG HAs Sustainable Brand Index™ - business to consumer EXISTED?

The study started in 2011 and is conducted annually in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands. Our ambition is to spread the study to as many countries as possible to create a relevant overall image of the market for sustainability.


The purpose of Sustainable Brand Index™ is to visualise the value of sustainable branding and spread and increase knowledge about this topic. By motivating, inspiring and providing a concrete tool, we encourage companies to improve their work and dare to communicate. We believe that the more companies talk about sustainability and what they do, the higher the interest among consumers. Increased interest, in turn, leads to increased knowledge, which in the long run also leads to higher demands on brands.


- HOW DO YOU COLLECT THE DATA IN Sustainable Brand Index™ B2C?

Sustainable Brand Index™ B2C is an independent three-part study based on desk research and two qualitative web-surveys. Each brand is assessed by at least 1000 respondents.

  • The average length of the surveys is approximately 9 minutes (this applies to the first quantitative survey, the second one is shorter)
  • In accordance with our policy, we do not use panels that are self-recruited
  • In the surveys, we set quotas for gender, age and geography
  • In a final step, the data is weighted for further fine-tuning


In total, more than 40,000 respondents have been interviewed, and each brand has been randomly assessed by at least 1000 people. These respondents are spread across all countries in the study (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands). Each respondent receives a completely random selection of brands to avoid systematic errors in the study.

The number of respondents in Sustainable Brand Index™ B2C 2018

  • Sweden 16 600
  • Norway 6 200
  • Denmark 7 000
  • Finland 9 600
  • The Netherlands 5 000
  • Total 44 400


The target audience in each of the surveys is the general public, 16-70 years, in each country.


The respondents come from so-called consumer panels belonging to a subcontractor. The panels thus consist of regular citizens in each country that have been recruited to answer questions at even and uneven intervals. Respondents are recruited through requests made on websites on the internet (either on news sites or in connection with an online purchase). We do not work with self-recruited panels, i.e. panels made up of people who themselves have signed up to answer questions. The respondents who then answer the questions in Sustainable Brand Index TM are selected from the mentioned panels. To get a so-called nationally representative selection, we use so-called quotas. This means that, even before we ask questions, we decide that there must be a certain distribution of respondents, based on gender, age and geography (to reflect the population of each country).


No, it is not the same respondents every year. It is important not to have the same respondents to avoid distortion of the results. For example, if we use the same respondents every year, they become "experts" on the questions we ask. We want answers from ordinary consumers, not just people who are knowledgeable of sustainability.

- WHEN WERE THE INTERVIEWS IN Sustainable Brand Index™ B2C 2018 CONDUCTED?

The different steps in the study (quantitative and qualitative studies) were conducted during November 2017 - January 2018 and February to March 2018 respectively.


The basis for the ranking in Sustainable Brand Index™ B2C is the UN Global Compact's 10 Principles of Environmental Responsibility and Social Responsibility. However, the ranking is only the tip of the iceberg in the study. We also look at a so-called external definition of sustainability that focuses on consumer perceptions of what sustainability is - their expectations and demands on companies. Furthermore, the study also digs deep within specific focus areas relevant to each industry. In 2017, we also began to examine the attitudes towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.


- HOW ARE THE BRANDS IN Sustainable Brand Index™ B2C SELECTED?

The selection of brands in the study is independent of SB Insight and is based mainly on three parameters:

  • Activity on the Market of the Country
  • Turnover & Market Share
  • General Brand Awareness The purpose of these criteria is to create a selection that mirrors the brands that consumers meet in their everyday life. The selection is primarily focused on corporate brands but are also complemented with product brands based on market share and general brand awareness that are relevant in order to create a justified image of each industry respectively.

- HOW MANY BRANDS ARE CHOSEN IN Sustainable Brand Index™ B2C 2018?

We try to add new brands every year as we expand the study. This is the current number of brands in each country, chosen based on the parameters above:

  • Sweden 326 brands
  • Norway 225 brands
  • Denmark 202 brands
  • Finland 164 brands
  • The Netherlands 149 brands

Total 1066 brands

- CAN A COMPANY PAY TO BE INCLUDED IN Sustainable Brand Index™ B2C?

A frequently asked question is whether brands can pay to be included in the study. That is not the case. We choose brands independently and based on the criteria mentioned above. There is a possibility for brands within the selection frame to buy a tailored strategy report. However, it is not possible to pay to be included in the study.

- WHAT DOES THE RANKING IN Sustainable Brand Index™ B2C SHOW?

The ranking shows how sustainable the different brands are perceived to be, according to the relevant country’s consumers. The ranking consists of two main parts; one that is called environmental responsibility, and one that is called social responsibility. The final score for each brand is an aggregate of the brand’s perception within these two areas. The score is assembled through a top box-method. This means that we only look at the share of positive consumers. Thus, the share that is positive towards a brand’s environmental responsibility + the share that is positive towards a brand’s social responsibility = the ranking score. This is also why the maximum score in the ranking is 200%. The highest score that a brand could be rewarded with is 100% for environmental responsibility and 100% for social responsibility.'


First, it is important to note that the Sustainable Brand IndexTM measures the perception of a brand’s sustainability. Thus, we do not measure the actual level of sustainability operations in this study. The perception of each actor’s sustainability efforts is largely based on the consumers’ gut feeling, but in some cases also on their knowledge. In summary, we measure how much or how little the consumers know about each actor’s sustainability responsibility as well as how they value each actor’s sustainability responsibility.


Yes and no. A well-considered and effective communication is absolutely a part of being successful in the Sustainable Brand IndexTM. However, another important part is basic (sustainable) branding. Last but not least, we have learnt that a solid work on sustainability is a necessary part to even be considered as sustainable by the consumers.


We don’t think so. Instead, we can see that the study have the opposite effect. In fact, using branding and communication as a driver for sustainability is one of the purposes of the study. The more companies communicate about sustainability and their work, the higher the interest for these issues becomes amongst the consumers. When interest increases, the consumers’ knowledge about company operations in this field also increases. When consumers know more, they have higher demands. Therefore, it becomes increasingly risky from the companies point of view, to be perceived as sustainable but to not deliver. We see it as a positive cycle.


Yes and no. A well-considered and effective communication is absolutely a part of being successful in the Sustainable Brand IndexTM. However, another important part is basic (sustainable) branding. Last but not least, we have learnt that a solid work on sustainability is a necessary part to even be considered as sustainable by the consumers.


First and foremost, it is important to emphasize that it is the result in the overall ranking that can differ much between years. Thus, it is not the underlying driving forces for each brand that vary that much over time. Instead, it is the overall attitude towards environmental responsibility and social responsibility that can differ much between years. There are several reasons for this divergence. First, sustainability is an area in constant development, which makes the interest and knowledge of the consumers volatile and fast moving. The perception about sustainability is therefore not inflexible in the same way that other aspects related to branding and image. Second, we measure the consumer view that is right here, right now, with no filters. We do not weigh the result based on that fact that certain sustainability issues have become more or less important over time, neither on market shares, or specific events during the past year. This means that we get the naked truth regarding how people in each country perceive the brand’s sustainability efforts right now. Thus, it is possible that results change more for some actors than others over time.

- What is Sustainable Brand Index™ – Business to Business?

Sustainable Brand Index™ is the Nordics’ largest brand study on sustainability. The study has been conducted annually since 2011 from a consumer perspective (B2C) and for the first time in 2017 from a business-to-business perspective (B2B). Sustainable Brand Index™ B2B 2018 aims to examine and answer the following overall questions:

  1. How do Swedish decision-makers view sustainability and its effect on purchasing decisions and choice of suppliers?

  2. How are Sweden’s largest B2B-brands perceived from a sustainability perspective?

  3. Why are Sweden’s largest B2B-brands perceived this way?

- What is the purpose of Sustainable Brand Index™ – Business to Business?

The purpose of Sustainable Brand Index™ B2B is to visualise the value of sustainable branding and increase the knowledge on sustainability within branding and communication. By motivating, inspiring and providing a concrete tool, we encourage companies to improve their work and dare to communicate.


- How have the evaluated companies been selected?

Sustainable Brand Index™ B2B is an independent study in which brands have been selected based on turnover, market share and general brand awareness. These independent parameters are combined with formulated target group in the Swedish market.

- Which industries have been evaluated in this year’s study?

Companies from the following industries/sectors have been evaluated:

  • Banking
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Fuel
  • Industry & Manufacturing
  • Insurance
  • IT & Technology
  • Pension
  • Real Estate
  • Telecommunication
  • Transport & Logistics
  • Waste Management
  • FMCG


- Who is the target group of the study?

The respondents in this study are decision-makers that carry the responsibility for purchasing and procurement of goods and services within the selected industries in one of the two target groups below:

  1. Large companies with more than 500 million SEK in turnover within the private sector in the Swedish market.

  2. An exception, from the target group as stated above, has been made for the industry Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). This is due to the fact that the companies and decision-makers that are relevant for this industry do not always reach the selection’s turnover threshold (500 million SEK). To get relevant insight on the industry, it has therefor been crucial to interview large actors but also decision-makers in specific business units such as boutiques and restaurants.

In conclusion, the study focuses on large companies, with the exception of the FMCG industry. The primary focus on large companies is an active choice based on the fact that these companies and decision-makers are responsible for large investments with a great effect on sustainability in the society. Of course, small- and medium-sized companies are also vital for a sustainable development. However, given the challenges and the time it takes to reach these types of decision-makers, Sustainable Brand Index™ B2B has chosen to focus on a segment of large companies in this study.

Positions & Titles

Based on the criteria of responsibility for purchasing and procurement of goods and services within selected industries, we have identified the following departments/positions as most relevant:

  • Administrative manager
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • Compensation & Benefits Manager
  • Establishment Manager
  • Real Estate Manager
  • HR Manager/Chief of Staff
  • Purchasing Manager
  • Chief Buyer
  • Insurance Manager
  • Chief of logistics/transports
  • Environmental Manager/ Sustainability Manager
  • Production Manager
  • Project Development Manager
  • Property Manager
  • Regional Manager
  • Security Manager
  • Technical Manager

Geographical areas of responsibility

The target group’s geographical areas of responsibility are not limited but divided as follows:

  • Sweden
  • The Nordics
  • Europe
  • Globally


- How has the data been collected in Sustainable Brand Index™ B2B?

Based on the study’s questions and target group, the research method has been designed as a quantitative survey based on 20-40 questions depending on the respondent. The survey method consists of telephone interviews. This method has been chosen due to an assessment that telephone interviews would give us the lowest shares of drop-outs. In order to conduct these telephone interviews, Sustainable Brand Index™ B2B works together with a professional survey company that has an expertise in conducting these types of interviews.

The interviews have been conducted in day-time between 9-17 during September-November 2018. The process started with interviewers calling the companies through the company telephone exchange. Afterwards, they were referred to the correct person that falls within the target group of the study. The respondents have been approached up to12 times by the interviewer. During each phone interview, respondent evaluate a randomized selection of brands based on which industries the respondent works and in which they carry the responsibility for purchasing and procurement of goods and services.

- How is the concept of ”sustainability” defined in the study?

In this study, the concept “sustainability” is based on the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. For each industry specifically, more detailed definitions of sustainable focus areas were presented.

- How reliable are the results of the study?

The research questions and related questionnaire require in-depth answers and qualitative input. It is impossible to conduct this type of study solely on a quantitative analysis. The study is therefore based on expert-interviews with decision-makers. The methodology of the study has been designed on scientific principles with a clear target group, research questions and control questions to steer the research process. The reliability of the results is to a large extent depending on the target group and the total number of respondents. Sustainable Brand Index™ B2B is convinced that the respondents reflect the target group it aims to map out in a good way. However, Sustainable Brand Index™ B2B does not claim that the study is fully representative for all decision-makers at every large company in Sweden.


The strength of the study is primarily that it has a clear target group with clear boundaries that have been very thoroughly secured. In each single interview, interviewers have made sure that the respondent belongs to the exact target group and that they fulfill the associated criteria. Once interviewers were in contact with the correct person, no problems have been encountered with getting respondents to answer specific questions. This shows a high knowledge level among all respondents and with that a high quality of the collected answers


Getting in contact with the correct respondent in line with the target group criteria has been the main challenge within this research method. The target group is a busy group that is hard to reach in general. It has proven challenging to reach respondents although they have been randomly selected to participate. However, we cannot see any clear patterns showing that any specific group within the target groups has been harder than others to reach, which means that this is not considered to cause any systematic error in the study's selection or between brands and industries.


- WHO MAKES THE Sustainable Brand Index™?

Sustainable Brand Index™ is owned and run by the company SB Insight AB. SB Insight is a private company owned by the employees. We are a small company based in Stockholm, with operations in the Nordics, The Netherlands and the Baltics.

- HOW IS THE Sustainable Brand Index™ FINANCED?

SB Insight AB, the company behind the study, finances Sustainable Brand Index™ to 100%.