Greater awareness about sustainability and environmental damage as the manner of production and fair trade has led to the rise of consumers who prefer to buy sustainable products. Many recent studies have confirmed this trend, that more and more people (1/3rd i.e. 33% of consumers globally) are opting for brands which they think are doing good for the environment or society. Therefore, If you are thinking about launching a firm right now, you must make sure that it has a sustainable aspect to it. The world is facing many environmental issues right now. In addition, even millennials are becoming more and more aware.
Launching an eco-friendly firm might be the best option right now. The demands of sustainable products are rising exponentially. The firms which make a reputation in the market right now would have to face lesser competition in the future. However, before delving into all the details you need to first understand what actually is a sustainable brand?
What is a sustainable brand
The study’s finding suggests that, given a chance, people instinctively take interest in making beneficial choices for the environment. There are sustainable products which are on the same shelf as non-sustainable ones. How do you make a choice? Firstly, do we mean by a ‘sustainable brand’?
A sustainable brand is one which includes sustainability in its marketing as well as products. Furthermore, it also contributes to society by following practices which are good for the environment. A product that declares itself as sustainable must reduce its environmental impact. Furthermore, it should also use ingredients which the company sources sustainably, and which focus on improving the health, nutrition, and wellbeing of the consumer. These eco-friendly brands cut waste and reduce their energy use, as well as natural resources and raw materials.
Findings of the study
The study, conducted by Unilever had 20,000 adult participants belonging to five countries. They were asked whether sustainability concerns affected their decision making while buying products. Their answers were then mapped against real purchase/buying decisions which revealed an accurate picture of what people are preferring to buy.
The study confirmed that people were buying products and brands which were environmentally and socially responsible. Consumers are now reading product information in marketing and packaging carefully, and tend to look for sustainable products. According to the study, a whopping 966 billion Euro opportunity is there for brands which make their sustainability /environmental credentials clear.
Out of Unilever’s hundreds of brands, those which had included sustainability were the ones which delivered almost half of the company’s global growth.
Sustainability demand is more in emerging economies
Surprisingly, the trend for sustainable purchasing is more among consumers belonging to emerging economies, rather than developed markets. In the UK, the percentage of people who feel better when they buy products which include sustainability is 58%, and in the US this percentage is 78%. Whereas, the number rose to 88% for India and 85% for Turkey and Brazil.
The study identified two probable causes for the greater demand for sustainable products in countries like India, Turkey and Brazil. One reason could be that consumers in these countries have seen firsthand how the environment suffers due to unsustainable businesses, leading to all kinds of pollution, energy and water shortage, poverty, and decreasing air quality.
The second reason could be social norms. The power or peer and family pressure cannot be ignored. People might be influenced by their friends and family to buy sustainable products. Children in these countries, especially in urban areas are extremely eco-conscious and these children can also influence their parent’s purchasing decisions.
Whatever the reasons may be, companies can no longer ignore the demand for sustainable products. Consumers are increasingly aware of their power in influencing the market, and if companies want to stay relevant, they have to shift their focus from affordability and performance to incorporating sustainable practices. Apart from focusing on just bottom lines, brands have to gain the trust of their consumers, by showing that they are concerned about the future of the planet.
Brands are embracing positive strategies
Leading brands have now started to embrace planet-friendly practices due to consumer demand. They are changing their methods of production and infrastructure including factories, supply chains, and factories to impact the environment in positive ways. Companies are using innovative new methods and technologies to reduce the use of natural resources, such as water, reduce wastage and introduce in-house recycling of materials, and sustainable sourcing of raw material. Furthermore, as consumers are more aware of fair trade practices, brands, which pay higher wages to their workers and farmers, are also coming into favor.
The demand for sustainable products and brands worldwide has led to manufacturers including sustainability as a deliberate strategy to gain more profit from consumers who are increasingly choosing sustainability as a factor for purchasing a product.
Some Luxury Brands that are keeping the environment in mind
1. Tiffany & Co
Tiffany & Co has always been a leading brand in luxury diamonds. They set the bar for other jeweler’s with their attention to detail and materials. Most diamonds are sourced from Africa and there is a bad reputation about the industry there. In some of the mines in Africa people are forced to work and do not get paid for their efforts. In addition, Tiffany & Co made sure that they would only get responsibly sourced diamonds by purchasing a company that buys diamonds and traces them.
2. Fonderie 47
Here is a luxury company committed to making a change. Their products are created from AK47 assault rifles taken from conflict zones in Africa. So far, they have successfully removed 30,000 from Africa and have created education programs for children and the community. Moreover, they have a vision for a vision of young African men and women rising up to be world leaders. They hope to empower the youth to build a future for themselves.
Artist John Patrick created this brand in 2004. Patrick creates his clothing from all organic materials. Patrick is determined to show that the fashion industry is capable of combining fashion and beauty with sustainability. His clothing’s design reflects that.
4. Donna Karen
Through her fashion line DKNY PURE, Donna Karen shows that it is possible for a mass producer of clothing to make environmentally friendly products. Although the line still uses animal fur and skin for some designs, they make the effort to inform the consumer about where it came from.
Valentino, a fashion line created by Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani, has made a legal commitment to become completely eco-friendly by the year 2020. Moreover, they full-heartedly acknowledge the need to stop industrial pollution on a large scale and they have made a long-term plan to change the way they work and make clothes.