Procter & Gamble and Eastman representatives discuss collaboration benefits at Sustainable Brands 2023.

Brands need authentic, research-based messaging to sell sustainable materials. That’s the message Eastman and Procter & Gamble shared at a joint breakout session at the Sustainable Brands 2023 conference in San Diego. The companies focused on their partnership for data-driven sustainability marketing.

“We know sustainability alone doesn’t sell,” said Justin Coates, global consumer insights and marketing leader at Eastman. “It seals the deal, but customers value other aspects like safety and performance. Authenticity is the key to sustainability messaging. If you can communicate those features and seal the deal with sustainability, you create brand loyalty. Our partners want to win customers, and we know the formula to do that through years of experience and insights.”

Coates and Anne Morris, senior marketing communications account manager for circular integration at Eastman, spoke during the session. They were joined by Rachel Zipperian, scientific communication director from P&G.

Eastman and P&G have collaborated since 2021, when P&G’s hair care brand, Herbal Essences, was looking for a partner to help it increase the sustainability of its primary packaging. Herbal Essences scientists found Eastman’s molecular recycling technologies and quickly recognized Eastman was the strong partner they needed for both product materials and sustainability messaging.

Herbal Essences worked with Eastman to create bottles made with 50% certified recycled content.* The companies have continued to collaborate and recently completed customized consumer research using insights from 4,000 consumers across the U.S., U.K., Germany and France. They identified the top sustainability claims that resonated with consumers of various P&G hair care and oral care brands. The research found brands should make their products’ sustainability benefits specific and tangible to the consumer.

Together, Eastman, Herbal Essences and other P&G brands will use these insights to craft authentic sustainability messaging that resonates with consumers and strengthens brand loyalty.

“If you're shopping for hair care, the first thing you want to know about is not what's in the bottle content,” Zipperian said during the session, which was sponsored by Eastman. “You want to know, ‘What's it going to do for my hair?’ So, figuring out the priority of communication is also something that's challenging, and the Eastman team and their insights have helped us understand that sometimes one message doesn't fit everyone.”

During the Sustainable Brands session, the Eastman and P&G representatives discussed how to create strategic sustainability messages that address consumer needs and are connected to a larger corporate sustainability story. Attendees learned how to differentiate their messaging through brand voice and consumer and market insights.

"At Eastman, we know collaboration fuels sustainable solutions,” Morris said. “The high level of interest in this topic we saw at Sustainable Brands shows brands and marketers are increasingly focused on how best to communicate their sustainability story. Eastman aims to be a valuable partner in the circular economy space, and it was a privilege to share our work with P&G.”

Sustainable Brands brings together brand marketing and sustainability leaders from across the globe. The conference featured sessions focused on marketing, sustainability, inclusion and diversity, and products.

*Recycled content allocated via ISCC-certified mass balance approach.

Front and back view of an Herbal Essences shampoo bottle, including recycled content messaging.