Beth Thompson
05/06/20

Why strong businesses should embrace sustainability and lead by example

The concept of sustainability is formed around trying to avoid depleting natural resources in order to keep a healthy global ecological balance. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a number of market leaders adopt a more sustainable approach to their product offering and have woven sustainability throughout their brand values and brand message.

Many companies believe that developing sustainable strategies ensure company longevity… but why?

Well, to put it simply, these brands are cleverly adapting to shifts in consumer mindset. With the concerns about global warming on the rise in recent years, many initial adopters of the sustainable mindset strive to do everything they can to help minimise the detrimental effects the human population have been causing. For a large number of consumers (the followers), sustainability is important to them because of ‘social signalling’, which works on the theory that we buy certain products as they say something about us - shopping sustainably shows the world we care.

In a 2018 report produced by Nielsen, a global measurement and data analytics company, they stated that 73% of consumers reported that they would either definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their individual impacts on the environment.

Some strong examples of industry leaders demonstrating their sustainable values through addressing material issues and being more transparent regarding their manufacturing processes:

Nike/ Adidas

Nike are laser-focused on reducing waste and minimising their carbon footprint, and Adidas have created a greener supply chain, specifically targeting issues such as eliminating plastic bags.

IKEA

IKEA made the move towards more sustainable strategies, promoting collaboration across their supply chains in order to minimise waste and increase resource productivity,

Tesla

Tesla states that “by design, Tesla’s products are sustainable” and that they endeavour to build them sustainably also. Their all-electric sports car (the Roadster) was designed to prove that an all-electric car can be sleek, fast and comfortable, without compromise.

In the recent months, with all areas of the world being on some level of enforced or self-imposed lockdown we have seen a demonstrated reduction in pollution and carbon emissions - putting into stark perspective how we have been damaging our world.

According to the United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, the fashion industry is responsible for up to 10% greenhouse gas emissions.

Last year, our client Little Mistress launched their Party Guilt Free campaign - a full collection made from recycled plastic bottles, along with the release of sustainable mailing bags made from Green Polyethylene that are CO2 negative, renewable, recyclable and sustainable in order to make “the fashion industry and our planet greener”.

We expect that during and post-Coronavirus, consumers will lean towards sustainable choices more than ever before, as shoppers are more conscious of how our decisions have an impact on the globe - meaning that if you haven’t already, now is the time to reconsider your approach and review how you can move towards a more sustainable business strategy to match your customers’ values.

According a study carried out by our partner, Nosto, the 5 key areas below are what consumers consider most important for companies to address in order to be sustainable, meaning taking these into consideration would be a great place to start on your journey to becoming a sustainable business:

  • Reducing the amount of packaging
  • Providing fair pay and good working conditions
  • Using renewable and recyclable materials
  • Making clothes that are designed to last longer
  • Using fewer resources (e.g. power, water, materials)

Addressing these key concerns could open up your business to a brand new audience now and well into the future.


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