With all the awareness-raising campaigns and governmental and business efforts to transform today’s commerce world into a greener one, a question stays on top of many minds. How interested are consumers in the environmental impact of their products and services? Do they really care about how companies conduct operations, resource depletion, sourcing sustainability, air pollution, and other aspects?
Businesses revolve around the ESG aspects and focus on improving their environmental efforts, but this doesn’t happen precisely by choice. Governments have made a point of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and the laws and regulations launched leave businesses no choice but to comply with them. Furthermore, the mantra of the day is sustainability, and it’s not naive to say that companies that can adapt and meet the growing expectations customers are having from them can gain a competitive advantage in the oversaturated market. However, researchers, marketers, and analysts are more involved than ever in discovering to what extent a business’s sustainability and environmental consciousness impact customers’ perceptions and purchasing decisions. The question is not necessarily “if”, but rather how genuine their concern about the businesses’ carbon footprint and environmental impact really is.
Consumers take into account the environmental footprint of products
An increasing number of consumers today choose to resort to brands that don’t only talk about sustainability but also deliver on their promises and make efforts to reduce their environmental footprint, as many studies indicate. Today, more than ever, customers are drawn to products whose design is adorned with symbols showing the product’s biodegradability, reusable and recyclable packaging, cruelty-free testing practices, utilization of plant-based materials in the production process, and other environmentally friendly attributes.
Additionally, the stronger focus on the environmental friendliness of a business is reflected in the behaviour of more and more customers, as studies point out, having been found that around 72% of the respondents of a surveyor are more determined than five years ago to pay for products from businesses that actively involved in the management of the natural resources, carbon emissions, resource supplying, ingredient testing, and so on. 81% of surveillants see their commitment to getting involved with environmentally-conscious businesses grow over the following half of a decade.
The shift in consumer trends and behaviours emphasizes the need for businesses to come up with practical, proactive solutions. As a result, those who can effectively heighten and deliver on their environmental promises will only have to win down the road when a delimitation is made between companies with poorer or more substantial commitments toward long-term sustainability.
The government’s actions have a strong echo in the public’s conscious
Sustainability and environmental awareness are no longer choices. Governmental forces more or less obligate businesses to diminish their environmental impact through numerous laws, policies, regulations, and action plans, with the possibility of further escalation not being excluded. To date, the circular economy action plan issued by the European Union in 2020 governs businesses’ efforts and rules their strategies. It aims to make a more competitive and healthier Europe, acting as the main agenda for sustainable development through promoting sustainable product designs, diminished resource and energy consumption, and sustainable waste disposal through methods like using a cardboard baler.
Up to date, about 40 countries and over 20 cities are taxing the release of carbon emissions per amount, but more plans such as new walking and cycling infrastructure and more EV charging points are on the agenda. Only by developing new lanes suitable for cyclist air quality in urban zones is significantly reduced thanks to lowered carbon emissions. It has been found that using the bike can eliminate 150 grams of CO2 per kilometre, which is impressive considering that the medium petrol car emitted 192 grams of CO2 per passenger kilometre in 2018 only. The carbon emissions associated with biking a kilometre range from 16 to 50 grams of CO2 equivalent, depending on factors like your dietary choices or biking efficiency.
Customers demand more transparency from companies
Customers need transparency and trustworthiness from businesses more than ever, and this factor is increasingly vital in companies’ operations. Multiple studies have demonstrated that transparency can increase customer loyalty and engagement to such a high level that increased dividends are gained by the excellent practitioner. Customers are becoming more and more environmentally aware and willing to pay increased attention to the label of the products, the brand’s representation in the commerce world, their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, their contribution to environmental efforts, and how they approach sustainability. A recent study from Statista also attests to this theory, showing that 73% of individuals are comfortable and down to pay a heftier price for a product, assuming it guarantees transparency.
As the number of consumers invested in how the products and services they consume and use affect the environment and quality of life for future generations, this adaptiveness weighs more and more for businesses. To remain competitive, companies must readjust their strategies and be flexible enough to respond to every sustainability-related public concern. This power of adaption will lead to their achievement of unique selling propositions.
Consumers think of the effects of plastics and chemicals
Plastics and chemicals are among the largest drivers of climate change, resource depletion, and so on. More individuals would be more comfortable knowing their products use reusable and recyclable packaging and don’t pollute the environment, showing that the company behind them has actually created and employed strategies to tackle the global climate crisis.
The chemical industry weighs the most to the daunting state of the environment and represents an essential enabler of the circular economy. The reality is that consumers want this sector to be involved in this more than ever; otherwise, it risks being left in the dark.
There are numerous alternatives and options for consumers who care about how green a product is, and they have no problem paying a little more or switching businesses in order to contribute to the world’s efforts to make the world a healthier place to live.
The concerning situation of planet Earth makes environmentalism and sustainability a key factor in determining the success of a business. Consumers want to see transparency, tangible efforts to make a change, and continuity in business actions more than ever, raising the bar for the business world that needs to adapt and rank these factors on their list of priorities higher than ever.