Reading Time: 2 minutes One of the trends we are noticing across the micro/small business sector is the rise of the…LEARN MORE
Sustainability has been consistently gaining traction in recent years, with several extreme weather events helping bring climate change to the world’s attention. Consumers are more conscious than ever before about their impact on the environment and are increasingly looking to make more sustainable choices; while evidence of willingness to pay more is limited, our research increasingly shows that sustainable credentials are often an effective tiebreaker.
However, many businesses have yet to fully appreciate the benefits of sustainable practices, including the positive impact it can have on their bottom line.
A recent survey, conducted by Smurfit Kappa, of 200 UK business leaders found that 74% are committed to staying ahead of their competitors, with many citing improved efficiency, reduced waste, and cost savings as key drivers towards being more sustainable. But there is still a gap between the changes consumers are willing to make compared to what businesses believe.
According to a Capgemini study, 79% of consumers are changing their purchase preferences based on sustainability. However, only 36% of organisations believe consumers are willing to make this change. This gap often emerges from a focus on whether customers are willing to pay more for sustainable products vs. a non-sustainable alternative.
However, sustainable marketing goes beyond the price tag. Customers are making changes in line with sustainability, whether or not they paid more for it. A recent Deloitte study indicates that 64% of consumers are trying to reduce their single-use plastic consumption, which means switching from existing brands unless those brands can adjust their packaging in line with this need. Sustainably marketed products are also growing faster than others, with a Stern NYU study of consumer-packaged goods market finding that sustainably marketed products represented 1/3 of all growth from 2015 to 2021, despite only making up 17% of the total value.
So, how can marketers leverage this opportunity without turning consumers off with buzzwords or drawing accusations of greenwashing?
We propose the following guidelines to drive success in sustainable marketing:
Sustainability is a multi-faceted issue that covers climate change, biodiversity, human rights, and much more. Achieving sustainable marketing requires a multifaceted approach to grasp the complex landscape. Despite what many businesses may think, consumers are increasingly open to changing their purchasing habits in favour of more sustainable options. The evidence on sustainable marketing is clear: it is an effective tool to attract new customers and drive growth.
So, whether you’re a business leader, marketer, or consumer, the message is clear: sustainability is here to stay. Be sure your business is on the right side of the trend.