The evidence of climate change and how the world is contributing to it, has become a hard reality. It’s because of this sudden realisation, brands have to consciously change the way they produce and distribute to become more sustainable – or face the consequences.
Who Cares The Most
It’s quite obvious that the world needs to improve to create a cleaner planet. People are now pushing for brands to make the change, and become more environmentally friendly in their production process. According to research from Getty Images (2020), 84% of UK consumers say that being environmentally friendly is important to them. The group that are most active in the pursuit of sustainability are millennials, with 73% suggesting they would pay more for sustainable products. On the other hand, Gen Z are possibly the most vocal audience when it comes to sustainability. In terms of impatience, Gen Z are known for their ‘cancelled culture’, meaning they could boycott unsustainable brands as they expect companies to be sustainable and will not wait for them to change.
Why the Demand Is Higher Than Ever
In recent years, television documentaries, including Blue Planet 2, Before the Flood and Seven Worlds One Planet, outline the importance of acting immediately. The demand for these documentaries are increasing due to the overwhelming response from viewers after watching. Documentaries, like the ones mentioned, make the public actively aware of the issues Earth is facing and leading them to demand action from political leaders and major brands around the world.
What Do You Have to Do Now
Living in the world of social media, people want to know what you’re doing all the time and with sustainability it is no different. Audiences need a description of how brands are tackling sustainability, leading to the creation of dedicated articles and blogs surrounding the exploration in resolving their sustainability problems.
In the past, brands have needed the public’s action to push them to become more sustainable. In the modern day, consumers expect a brand to be sustainable and could look for alternatives if a brand is not making a conscious effort.
Who’s Leading the Way
As with all movements, brands are making a more vocal effort to push and improve their sustainability. Let’s look at which brands are leading the way:
It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. So LadBible created Trash Isles, a campaign that called for the huge mound of plastic polluting the Pacific ocean to be deemed an actual country, empowering young people to get the United Nations to acknowledge the plastic that pollutes our oceans. This campaign led by LadBible is regarded as one of the most creative ways to spread awareness. LadBible’s audience is based on engagement and sharing, and the crazy idea of creating a country to push the conversation about plastic pollution might be what people need.
By 2030, Lego’s mission is to make all Lego bricks sustainable. The Lego Group also plans to send zero waste to landfill by 2025, while 100% of the plastic waste created during brick moulding was recycled in 2018. They have also achieved being 100% balanced by renewable energy due to their investments in offshore wind farms.
Roughly half of Lush’s products can be taken home without any packaging at all. However when packaging is unavoidable, the materials used are 90% recycled and they’re currently working on reducing the remaining 10%.
Who’s Falling Behind
The Fashion Industry
In 2018, it was reported that Burberry destroyed more than £28 million of goods. Although everyone was pointing the finger in the direction of the luxury label, they are not the only brand in the fashion industry to destroy unsold stock. While demolishing goods contributes to world pollution, clothes production is the one to blame. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world (just behind oil and gas) and thus, responsible for 10% of all annual global carbon emissions.
While new sustainable brands (Everlane, People Tree, Veja…) are slowly taking up space in the fashion world, the desire for newness and cheap clothes is holding some people back. Luckily in 2018, fashion stakeholders took part in the UN Climate Change forum leading to a target of 30% green gas emission reductions by 2030. Popular fast-fashion labels like Zara, H&M and Uniqlo are now working towards a more sustainable future with initiatives like using 100% sustainable fabrics, becoming climate positive or reducing drastically single-use plastic. We can only hope they reach their goals as people’s shopping habits continue to change preferring sustainability over short-lived garments.
Companies using Next-day / Same-day delivery
With Gen Z growing increasingly impatient with their desires, large companies including Amazon have integrated same-day delivery into their shipping methods. Although they argue that it is more environmentally friendly than the consumer driving to the shop, users have had to start ordering items separately due to not all items being made available for same-day delivery.
Tourism and Flights
With many conferences currently being held online, many businesses would still favour travelling for face to face meetings. Although airlines are finding ways to become sustainable, like reducing plastic food packaging, there is a limit to what they can do considering the business they’re in.
Moving forward, brands need to ensure they’re open and transparent with their audience regarding sustainability. You can no longer be stagnant, audiences want honesty and a conscious effort that your brand is looking to make a difference.
By creating a sustainability mission or goal, your brand has something to work towards, and your audience has a journey to follow. By doing this, not only are you creating a more sustainable production line but a community that everyone wants to be a part of. Start small, but think big. Everyone has to start somewhere, and every contribution is a step in the right direction.