April 2020 - Feature
Sustainability in retail has real value – although it was once considered a cost burden that catered to a small number of keen greenies, sustainability is now a major decision factor for many consumers. According to Accenture’s latest study, 62% of UK consumers prefer to buy from companies that are reducing their use of plastics and two thirds want greater transparency in how companies source their materials. So, getting green is good for your conscience, the planet and your sales. Here are some of the ways you can be greener.
“Being a good human being is good business.”
— Paul Hawken, environmentalist, entrepreneur and writer
First of all, where does your product come from, including the materials that are used to make each part? Who makes it and are they paid fairly? Go back through the supply chain and make sure you can find the origin of every material that goes into your product. Part of being ethical is about trust. With the whole truth you can lead with honesty and gain customer loyalty. Once you have the facts, choose sustainability goals and hold yourself accountable. You can even make it a part of your business pledge and make it public.
Packaging is a very visible waste factor… and if you’re an online retailer, the packaging around your packaging is the first thing the customer sees. Joining in with the ‘circular economy’, you can look for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle – the three Rs. Also, it’s a good way to differentiate from your competitors too. Essentially – design your packaging to be easily recycled and reduce the amount you use. Check out the thorough website Greener Package for ideas, whatever your requirements, at https://www.greenerpackage.com/source_reduction/10_tips_sustainable_package_design
It’s not all about packaging and product. Apart from doing less harm, it’s important to do good too. A study by Forbes revealed that 88% of consumers want brands to help them lower their footprint. Furthermore, some companies donate 1% of profits to a planet saving charity of choice (the more industry specific, the better). While Others plant trees for every order. What can you do to help your customers get greener and change your industry for the better from the inside out?
Lastly, use content marketing to advertise your green credentials to your customers and make your sustainable efforts a part of your brand identity. Before you change your message, figure out why sustainability is important to you and your business, how your company does it and the benefits to both consumer and planet. Reemphasise those green goals you made and tell customers what causes you support (or who will benefit from your joint efforts).Most importantly, don’t lie as you will be found out. Greenwashing, as it’s known, ruins the credibility of your entire brand – and can cost you fines if you’re found guilty of false advertising. Instead, make sure you’re not just re-labelling and seek endorsement from a respected third party or charity organisation who can back up your green claims. Fashion businesses could check out luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter’s platform, Net Sustain, which highlights brands that meet criteria regarding sustainability, making ethical shopping easier. Make paper products? Get Forest Stewardship Council-certified. Whatever your industry, there will be a way to get a stamp of approval.
Let’s get greener, together
Here at JEM we want to be part of your sustainability goals. In fact, we have our own. We strive to reduce our impact on the environment – from using biodegradable packing peanuts to reusing packaging wherever possible – and we always use the most appropriate sized mailing packages (no tiny product in a huge mailing box from us!). As part of our end-to-end fulfillment service we can also help you source environmentally friendly product packaging and recyclable materials if required.