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It is not enough to run a great business in 2021. Consumers are crying out for sustainable businesses now! Globally, 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products and it might be high time to give the people what they want! Over the past year, we saw the major impacts of climate change right here on our doorstep with the devastating bushfires of 2020 and the once-in-a-lifetime flooding of 2021. We are now desperately trying to reduce our global footprint and businesses need to be innovators for this movement. We are seeing new sustainability trends arise every year as more research indicates the impact we have on the environment. Read on to find out what sustainability trends we will be seeing in the very near future.
Here are the trends we should be watching out for (and businesses should be gearing up to address):
Daily consumption of energy is being reduced, but the type of energy being consumed is changing too. Electric cars are becoming more popular among consumers and companies too as electric cars can be used in freight. Renewable energy is also being favoured over the traditional energy sources. Sources such as solar and wind are replacing fossil fuels and creating more sustainable businesses!
Zero waste isn’t exactly a new initiative, but it is taking some time to achieve! Though it’s not just consumers who are wanting to reduce their waste, businesses are too. Many businesses are deciding to repurpose or donate what used to be food waste for them. However, we are only really scratching the surface with commitment to zero waste, with Coles being one of the few major retailers to commit to the journey towards zero waste. While many independent retailers have been implementing similar sustainable initiatives for many years, it is very important for major retailers to join the movement and hopefully create a domino effect among their industry. This is for sure not the last we will hear of zero waste for some time.
This isn’t just chucking paper into the recycling bin anymore, it means recycling products and turning them back into useful products. We are seeing a lot of stores with recycled shopping trolleys and brands upcycling leftover materials, rather than just chucking them in the bin. There is no doubt that we will be seeing new and innovative ways to recycle or upcycle in the future!
It’s more than just brand’s upcycling though, it’s about giving consumers the opportunity to recycle! This is particularly important when it comes to e-waste. You can find bins for e-waste out the front of stores such as Officeworks, but with the rise of technology, we’re likely to see more options for getting rid of the tech products we no longer use.
Image: Inside Retail
Plant-based products are certainly on the rise too. Beyond Meat is becoming an increasingly popular brand in this space. This addresses the want for an alternative to meat and supports the vegan lifestyle. But it’s not all about meat substitutes, plant-based packaging is important too! Plant-based packaging or bioplastics are packaging solutions we see occasionally already, with the dairy industry paving the way for these plant-based solutions. We’re going to see more plant-based packaging and plastic alternatives in the near future as most Australian states commit to abolish single-use plastics.
With the powers of persuasion marketers have, marketing really needs to be the positive force for change among businesses. Marketing should be promoting sustainable businesses and adjust strategies with the environment in mind. Digital advertising is well and truly one of the most prominent forms of advertising for many brands, but there are many forms of advertising in play. Traditional billboards in particular are quite harmful, being made of PVC in most cases. However we are seeing some transformation in this area with solutions such as solar-powered digital billboards. We need to see more sustainable forms of advertising in our future and marketing for change too!
Sustainability isn’t exactly a ‘trend’, it’s always going to be relevant. Sustainability trends however are changing as we conduct more research and realise the impact we have on the world. These trends outlined are just some among the many we will likely see. The question is, which businesses are brave enough to lead the way?