Retail Sustainability Trends: Plastic Bags, Packaging, Fast Fashion & More
Recent retail sustainability trends have been making waves in the CPG space. In only the past few months we’ve heard announcements about:
- Sobeys planning to remove plastic bags from all of its grocery stores in Canada by January 2020.
- Loblaws piloting reusable containers in its grocery delivery service.
- PepsiCo working to reduce plastic in its packaging.
- Coca-Cola has pledged to recover at least 75% of the bottles and cans they introduce into developed markets by 2020.
- Amazon recently announced a new program in the U.S. and U.K. where they will now donate unsold merchandise instead of trashing it.
- And more.
The focus on sustainability is for good reason. The Province of Ontario recently announced plans to make product manufacturers and retailers responsible for the Blue Box recycling program.
Research also show that an increasing number of consumers care more about sustainable brands, too. According to VendHQ, a 2017 study by Cone Communications found that 87% of Americans would purchase products from businesses who advocate for social and environmental responsibility. And 76% of respondents would boycott businesses who behaved contrarily.
Global Web Index reported that some consumers – in particular Millennials – will even pay extra for eco-friendly or sustainable products.
While working towards more sustainable packaging and practices is certainly a positive, the question becomes where the line is drawn between greenwashing and real, effective change.
For instance, The Outline recently reported on clothing manufacturers that throw away or destroy unsold inventory, sometimes millions of dollars’ worth, in an effort to keep their brand high-end or exclusive. Not only does hurt not only from a revenue standpoint, it also isn’t a sustainable practice.
Fast fashion has also been publicly criticized as of late – relying on cheap labour to create low-cost products with little-to-no thought about the carbon footprint of the production process.
Is your brand looking to embrace more sustainability? These are just a few ways you can improve your environmental impact — and your revenue.
- Look at your current inventory levels and see if there are ways you can re-use products that haven’t sold. If you are currently destroying unused products, consider alternatives, like donating, selling at a discount warehouse, selling online, or re-working the supply chain to be more demand-driven.
- Monitor and optimize your current inventory in-store and online. Do you have a plan for in-store inventory that doesn’t move? Are your products actually being put out on shelves?
- Look at your manufacturing processes. Are you relying on fast production that is sacrificing the carbon footprint?
- Look at your own packaging. Is there a way it can be made more sustainable? Is the packaging recyclable or re-usable?
- Consider launching a social responsibility initiative. For instance, the shoe brand TOMS will donate one pair of shoes for every pair they sell. Lacoste has a “Save Our Species” campaign where they donate revenue to endangered animal conservation. However, if you do launch a campaign make sure that your other sustainability practices aren’t ignored!
- Communicate what you’re doing! Make being sustainable part of your brand story. If you are doing your part for the environment show that to consumers. You may just find that sales go up, too!
Storesupport Canada helps drive your brand at retail. Contact us today for customized in-store and online solutions to build awareness and increase sales. Put control of your brand back in your hands!
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