8 Reasons Why Big Brands Are Moving Towards Sustainable Products
Updated: May 2
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It's no secret that the world is in a state of environmental crisis. The Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate, sea levels are rising, and species are going extinct at an alarming pace. In order to combat climate change and save our planet, it's essential that we take action now. And one of the best ways to do that is by supporting sustainable brands.
There are many reasons why big brands are moving towards sustainable products. Here are eight of them:
Related Article: Sustainable Manufacturing: Why It Is Important
1. Retailers Expect Sustainability from Brands They Carry
Target Corporation, the eighth largest retailer in the United States, is taking sustainability seriously. In 2017 they announced five new goals for environmentally friendly packaging that are largely due to customer expectations and demands.
Target, with over 1,900 stores across the US and just under 410,000 employees, are set out to change the way they do business, and it's all because of one simple word: sustainability. The company will now require companies who hope to sell products at their stores or online to specific standards for how products are packaged.
REI is a trusted North American retailer that has been the go-to for outdoor enthusiasts for more than 80 years. They carry more than 1000 brands, all of which are sold by knowledgeable staff who provide informed service to their customers each day.
REI has a long history of sustainability within their own brands and is now ringing the bell for all other businesses to follow suit. In 2018 announced today their new sustainability standards for brands they sell. These standards outline what they expect from suppliers companies who want access to them in terms of how they manage key environmental impacts as well social/animal welfare issues.
2. Consumers Love To Buy Sustainable Products
The current consumer generation is more environmentally conscious than any before it, with over half of Americans buying online considering sustainability when making purchases.
Research conducted by CGS in November 2018 found that 68% of Internet users deemed product environmental friendliness a factor for deciding whether or not to make a purchase.
Consumers are increasingly looking for brands that align with their own values and ideals.
"Today's buyers are driven by more than price," said Paul Magel of CGS’s Business Applications Division.
Transparency around the materials and development of products can only increase consumer loyalty.
3. Sustainability Drives Consumer Purchase Decisions
With the growing number of people who see their everyday shopping as an important way to make a difference, consumer research from Fairtrade International and GlobeScan has shown that these consumers are more likely than ever before to become a majority.
Their global surveys revealed that more than half of the 15,000 respondents had changed their purchasing choices in order to have an impact on issues like labour practices, social justice, product safety and environmental protection.
Fairtrade is an example of a product label that has seen success by paying attention to the needs and desires of consumers desiring a “green” change. The research found 64 per cent willing to pay more if they knew producers were being fairly compensated while 76 per cent recognized these ethical/ environmentally friendly labels when seeing them on products from different companies.
Around the world, consumers are increasingly acting on their values and displaying an openness to paying a little more for products that are ethically and sustainably produced,” said Dr Nyagoy Nyong’o, Fairtrade International’s Global CEO.
4. The Growing Demand For Eco-Friendly Packaging Solutions
It is no secret that the packaging industry has had a significant impact on the environment. With increasing anxiety about waste, consumers are looking for environmentally friendly products with recycling options like eco-friendly plastics or paper alternatives so they can do their part to help.
Consumers are becoming more willing to buy products with environmentally friendly packaging. One example of this trend is the growing need among shoppers in America who want their recycling correctly and easily handled by retailers - especially those involving single-use disposable plastics like straws or food containers that cannot be recycled.
In 2015, the UK introduced a plastic bag charge which encourages shoppers to reuse their bags instead of using a "single-use carrier" every time they went shopping. This changed consumer behaviour and increased support for other charges that reduce waste across all industries.
With the shift to less wasteful and eco-friendly packaging, many companies have made bold commitments to improve their sustainability. These shifts are not only good for our environment but also give consumers more clarity when purchasing products by understanding how materials are sourced and processed within a company's supply chain.
For more info, see our guide to sustainable manufacturing materials
5. Sustainability Plays An Important Role In Branding
We've all heard the saying "You can't beat a good product with another one." But this age-old adage doesn't apply anymore. Today's shoppers want not just quality products, they're looking for brands that align with their values and priorities.
Climate change demonstrations and social media chatter show that people won't put up with brands who don’t care enough especially when there's an option to buy from ones that do.
“Consumers are willing to pay a premium for products from a sustainable brand over a non-sustainable competitor brand,” says Dr Matt Johnson, professor at Hult International Business School.
Whether it's a personal priority or not, many people find the idea of purchasing an environmentally friendly product appealing. Shopping while doing good is kinder than buying cheap things and feeling guilty about your purchases, Dr. Johnson explains.
We all have our priorities, but choosing a sustainable product is one way to show your green credentials. It's called Social Signaling - the theory that we buy certain things because of what they say about us and how others will perceive it when viewing your purchases or interacting with you.
When it comes to making a statement, there's no better way than with your car. In fact, in a 2007 survey conducted by Toyota, Prius owners proudly reported that there were two top reasons for purchasing the hybrid machine: "it makes a statement about me" and “...it shows the world that I care."
6. Sustainable Products Show Corporate Social Responsibility
One of the main reasons why big brands are moving towards sustainable products is because of corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR is the idea that companies should be responsible for the impacts their business has on society. This includes things like reducing greenhouse gas emissions, treating employees fairly, and providing charitable donations.
Many big brands are now realizing that they need to do more than just make a profit. They need to be responsible for the impacts their business has on society, and sustainable products are one way to do that. Sustainable products can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut costs, and appeal to consumers who care about sustainability.
7. Lower Shipping Costs with Decreases In Carbon Footprint
With the rise of corporate social responsibility, sustainable packaging has become more important than ever. Brands rely on it for many reasons including reducing their carbon footprints and greenhouse emissions.
Using a sustainable packaging solution is needed due to the massive global transportation of products from factories in China and India through to Europe's and America’s busiest ports and transportation hubs before arriving at their final destination.
Any environmentally friendly material must be strong enough for its long journeys but also reduce waste by eliminating any unnecessary materials that can't be easily recycled or otherwise disposed of during production and packaging at the assembly line. Redesigned packaging with recycled materials can also improve structural strength, have less weight and reduce shipping costs which in turn leads to fewer polluting emissions.
8. Sustainability Can Act As A Market Differentiator
As companies have started to take responsibility for their footprint in the world, they must improve customer loyalty by taking demonstrable actions. This includes making sure actions directly impact customers and build a better future together with sustainability at its core.
It is no secret that customers are much more likely to return if companies make them feel like they're valued. And with the recent rise in awareness about environmental issues, many businesses are starting conversations about how their business impacts others around them.
The efforts of companies to reduce their carbon footprint and improve other sustainability initiatives have had a major impact on consumer sentiment. These small changes may not seem like much at first, but they add up over time.
Related Article: Sustainable Manufacturing Trends To Watch Out
Sustainable products are not only good for the environment, but they’re also becoming more and more popular with consumers. This is because people are starting to see that sustainable brands make the right choice for both their wallets and the planet.
Retailers are beginning to expect sustainability from their suppliers, so big brands need to jump on this trend now if they want to stay ahead of the competition. If you’re looking for a way to set your brand apart and show that you care about more than just profits, consider making sustainability a core part of your business strategy. Consumers will love and stick by you for it.
Check our article on 7 Sustainable Gardening Practices for Environmentally Conscious Individuals
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