why your brand needs to be more eco-friendly – WAU
Conscious consumption has proven to be a necessary change in today’s world. To ensure a more sustainable world, and a loyal customer base, it is necessary for brands to adapt to eco-friendly – without running the risk of falling into greenwashing.
The green shelves in supermarkets, the sustainable flaps on sales websites and even the way people have dressed up reveal a change that is here to stay.
Conscious consumption with the search for products that generate less impact on the environment has become the great vein in the 21st century economy. And those who have not yet opened their eyes to this may be very late.
The movement goes beyond a trend. Indicators such as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) already warn that, if in twelve years, humanity does not balance its carbon emissions, it will suffer from a major climate catastrophe.
“The decisions we make today are decisive in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, now and in the future“Is what Jim Skea, co-chairman of one of the IPCC working groups, reveals.
For this reason, reducing waste, finding solutions for the consumption of plastic, observing the destination of packaging and discouraging planned obsolescence has been part of the shopping list of consumers worldwide. What attracts the attention of brands and also requires a general, true and continuous engagement.
Conscious consumption is here to stay and generate changes. But what exactly does this concept mean?
Stay with us and learn more about the topic!
What is conscious consumption
Conscious consumption, as its name suggests, is an way of consuming with more knowledge about the processes and the type of product that is purchased. It is a consumption that questions the origin of the ingredients, the way of production, as well as the real need for its purchase.
Legend has it that the first manifestation of conscious consumption as a movement appeared in the 19th century, in the United States, in New York.
A group of housewives, who were indignant at the poor working conditions of their husbands, employees of industries, began to make notes in notebooks about companies that respected their employees. And so, they started to give preference to them in their purchases.
Years later, we can see the impact of such movements, which in an organized manner, manage to impose limits on industrialization.
As is the case of the #FashionRevolution movement, started in England, after the fall of a building that housed garments of major world brands in Bangladesh, in 2013, killing more than a thousand people. The British began to question the motives of those workers to make their clothes in such conditions.
From the question “who made my clothes” and “how much did this shirt cost”, the movement circulated the idea that the low price of a product can have a high cost for the community that produced it on social and environmental issues.
The initiative created achieved so much relevance that it pushed several fast fashion brands to commit to new agreements on a more ethical way of clothing.
And not only that! It is also maintained, by the engaged consumers, a constant vigilance on the labels, including on stores that charge expensive for their pieces, but that impact in the same way in their production.
Conscious consumption imposes this: constant attention. But has he hit Brazilians in the face?
Consumer profile in London and worldwide
The strays have confirmed a general observation. In 2019, a Nielsen survey indicated that 42% of London consumers are changing their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.
The same survey also found that 30% of respondents are attentive to the ingredients that make up the products. In this critical positioning with regard to brands, 58% of respondents answered that they do not buy products from companies that perform tests on animals and 65% do not buy from companies associated with slave labor.
According to business reputation specialist Silvia Salles, the “why” is the main factor considered when buying a conscious consumer. Therefore, she recommends brands, “Committing to an environmental cause is not just a matter of being ‘nice’. Makes business sense today“.
Globally, a 2019 Accenture Strategy survey of 6,000 consumers from eleven countries across Europe, North America and Asia indicated that 83% of them believe it is important or extremely important for companies to create products that can be reused or recycled.
A change observed in the same poll is that now 72% of consumers say they currently buy more eco-friendly products than they did five years ago.
In the same survey, it is also found that 77% of consumers consider plastic to be the least environmentally friendly type of packaging, while paper products continue to be seen as the most environmentally friendly by 55% of respondents.
All of this, if taken into account by brands and industry, makes a turnaround in the way of production. And it can generate a lot of damage or a lot of profit depending on how the transformation is carried out.
Sustainability that sells and greenwashing that drives away
Consumer interest in products with a more sustainable footprint made the market, aware of changes, to take two different attitudes: the first, to create sustainable and creative processes, in which the innovative form of production would generate less impact on the environment environment.
The second is to invest only in purely market speeches that, in truth, do nothing to advance sustainability. This second attitude is identified with the term greenwashing.
Greenwashing, being the hypocrisy of ecological discourse just to manipulate and get sales, ends up generating dangerous reactions, as it can debunk, sometimes the serious work done by brands that really engage in working with more environmental ethics. Therefore, control bodies and the consumer must pay attention to the practice.
For the lawyer, stylist and fashion law specialist, Patrícia Barbosa, much still benefits from ignorance about this subject.
“From the perspective of the fashion world, being sustainable is in fashion. Companies are in fact using this speech and I believe that many follow it in a true way, but at the same time, many others use green marketing, with products that, if they are tracked, could not be called eco or sustainable ”, comments.
In other words, there is still much talk and little is done to contain the environmental impacts generated in the various productions.
Part of this thinking coincides with what activist Greta Thunberg put in her speech to great world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September this year. “You still approach us, young people, to hope. How dare they? ”, He asked, while denouncing the lack of concrete actions by the different countries.
Individually, the simplest way for consumers to win Greenwashing and value the effort of brands that engage is to give preference to that process that is more transparent, in any segment.
For this, Patrícia advises “Before buying, research the brand’s past life, look for serious certifications (and not stamps invented by the brand itself) and question the speeches”.
For brands, Silvia Salles gives a hint on how to adapt to the eco-friendly trend: “more important than saying, it is actually doing. And more important than actually doing, is being. Being, doing and saying: in that order“.
For her, brands that claim to be eco-friendly and are not, are exposed to a great risk. “Eventually, when what they say proves to be a lie, these brands will be exposed and their reputation will be weakened,” he warns. Speech without practice cannot be sustained by the questioning consumer.
Consume as a political act
The conscious consumer is also a conscious citizen. For sustainability expert Julia Padovezi, people who engage in more sustainable consumption are creating different lifestyle habits, such as learning to take their own pots and bags to markets in order to consume less plastic packaging.
“Conscious consumption is a voluntary, daily and solidary contribution that aims to guarantee the sustainability of life on the planet”, he comments.
According to her, although many people experience changes in the way of life, the search for excessive comfort can also be seen as one of the great villains when it comes to putting into practice more conscious consumption.
However, the convenience / sustainability duality can also be an argument for the creativity of entrepreneurs who want to combine the useful with the pleasant for the environment and move a business.
As an example, Bruna Miranda, founder of Review, a discussion platform on consumption and lifestyle, is in the production of the fourth Guia Slow Living: a magazine and package insert that, in addition to discussing the processes and the necessary changes in daily life, aims to bring consumers and large and small brands closer together offering products according to their life values.
A convenience in the search for those who are already adapting in the way of consuming.
And she is not the only one! Ideas that unite the desire to consume differently with the provision of sustainable services is what can also be seen in applications and services that are popping up in the universe of the collaborative economy.
Initiatives that today are focused on connecting people who need a borrowed or shared product (such as a drill, evening wear, an iron) and do not intend to buy are already consolidating companies and a different way of circulating goods.
“The collaborative economy makes it possible to acquire less and share more. It is the sale of services and experiences instead of products ”, explains Julia Padovezi,“ For this reason, it is an economy that should be stimulated, because it reduces production, extraction, disposal ”, he advises.
When “having” is no longer the central focus of consumption, but the experience of sharing or enjoying something that already exists, the consumer starts to show the market the cultivation of new values. With his purchasing power, this 21st century actor has proven that consuming is also a political act.
The future of conscious consumption
In short, conscious consumption does not appear to be a passing movement. In addition to the evident need for change in the way of dealing with the planet’s resources, sustainable initiatives have been confirmed, including in the form of laws.
Laws that affect almost all consumers for good or ill and a large part of the industry, such as the abolition of plastic straws in some cities in London, the mandatory reverse logistics in several countries in the world, the encouragement of repair of objects (instead of buying a new one) in Scandinavia, as well as the ban on animal testing for cosmetic production and the signing of global pacts for more ethical production.
A brand that does not truly commit itself to today’s social and environmental causes will risk its name and reputation, in addition to being left behind in the queue of innovation and customer preference.
For the consumer, the benefits will come with more transparency, more options for services and experiences and direct communication to answer your questions. Change will not be a choice, the way to do it will.
That is why the concept of the Triple Bottom Line, although not recent, is more current than ever. You know? Understand a little more about how to unite planet, people and profit in our text.