A new international study has revealed that a third of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good.

The report also found that more than one in five consumers would buy from brands that make their sustainability credentials clearer on their packaging and in their marketing.

The study – commissioned by Unilever, the owner of brands such as Lynx deodorant, PG Tips tea and Wall’s ice cream – calculated that €966 billion (£800bn) in gains could be unlocked by brands if they took a better approach to communicating their sustainability.

Unilever said that its brands that had integrated sustainability into their marketing – such as Dove soap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – were growing 30% faster than the rest of the business.

One third of consumers reported preferring “sustainable” brands.

Sustainability is an ‘imperative’

Keith Weed, Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, said: “This research confirms that sustainability isn’t a nice-to-have for businesses. In fact, it has become an imperative.

“To succeed globally, and especially in emerging economies across Asia, Africa and Latin America, brands should go beyond traditional focus areas like product performance and affordability.

“Instead, they must act quickly to prove their social and environmental credentials and show consumers they can be trusted with the future of the planet and communities, as well as their own bottom lines.”

A report by SmartestEnergy in 2015 found than four out of five respondents describes themselves as likely to buy from a consumer brand with a positive approach to sustainability.

> Read more about Unilever's study here