It’s 2019 and the word is out! With an influx of documentaries, news headlines and online content flooding the airways, the message of sustainability and environmental awareness cannot be ignored. Consumers around the world have taken note and are making their voices heard through their purchasing power. For businesses, this presents an opportunity for steady growth, publicity and support from consumers. For those yet to implement an eco-friendly approach to their business, here are a few reasons you should take the plunge to help the environment and potentially your bottom line.
The Caring Consumer
Across many demographic and geographic borders, consumers are becoming more ethical about who they purchase from. A worldwide study in 2015 found 66% of customers would pay more for green products if they were available. An ideal based on more than just sentiment, from 2017 to 18 the sales of vegan foods rose 10 times faster than food sales as a whole in America, the largest economy on earth.
This shift in purchasing habits can be mostly attributed to Millennials, with 3 out of 4 preferring to endorse businesses that affect sustainable practices. But there is a universal appreciation from all ages, as 46% of Baby Boomers and 55% of Gen X’ers willing to pay up for products and companies that support the environment. With an ever-growing target market, it’s clear the once niche industry is now mainstream.
Tapping into the Market
While some organisations have built their reputation on being environmentally friendly, others have capitalised on the opportunity and introduced products or policies that serve the growing market. Examples include McDonald’s new vegan burger and their phase-out of plastic straws across their locations, and cosmetics company L’Oreal committing to “zero deforestation" by 2020. Implementing these changes allowed both businesses to target the eco-conscious consumer, they are attracting a whole new demographic while doing good for the planet.
But you don’t have to be an industry giant to do the same. Purchasing sustainable products or reducing your carbon footprint can be enough to win over the audience. If your business is in the service industry, consider cutting out single-use plastics and implementing alternatives such as bamboo straws and cutlery. Encourage recycling by providing both bins for your customers and staff. Reduce your power use age by installing energy efficient appliances and lighting. These small changes send a big message to consumers and show that the organisation is serious about sustainability.
Talking the Walk
What you do and how you do it says a lot about who you are and business is no different. Brands that adopt sustainable practises are often driven by more than just their costing but it’s important to let others know about the work you do. A green narrative in your promotions can go a long way for attracting customers to your products and services. A recent study has found that 82% of adults claim to be well informed about brands with a strong track record for sustainability. Consumers are receptive to brands that align with their core values and reflect their personality. By promoting your green strategy, you are signalling to the world that you are a caring and ethical organisation. This builds on your brand identity in the minds of your consumers and promotes trust in your products.
Changing your business practises to be more environmentally friendly is an investment that consumers will reward in droves. The Eco-market is growing daily and the barriers for entry are low for those committed to implementing change. A green strategy is just as sustainable for your business as the environment.