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Sustainability in Retail – Do Consumers Actually Care And Why Should You?

We know that acting sustainably is critical for the planet both now and into the future. You may be wondering why I’m telling you that – but it turns out that not only is acting sustainably good for the environment, but it also is for your business and your relationships with your customers. With nearly 90% of consumers of the opinion that eco-friendly practices in business is important, businesses can’t afford to not take sustainability seriously.


Awareness is at an all time high amongst consumers when it comes to sustainability with hard hitting documentaries like An Inconvenient Trust, Blue Planet, Seaspiracy, Cowspiracy, and Our Planet showing just how bad things are now, the path we’re on, and just how bad things could get if action isn’t taken. And so, understandably, consumers are taking action themselves – whether that’s recycling, trying Meat Free Mondays, and increasingly, carefully considering who they buy from.

Gone are the days of purchasing decisions being made on the most well known brand name, as research has shown that two thirds of consumers said that their purchasing decision is influenced by the sustainability and eco-friendly practices of a brand or business. It goes further too – 79% of consumers will research the sustainability of a company before purchasing from them. It’s never been more important or timely to be and do better for the environment.

Consumer expectations and preferences are changing too in favour of making environmentally friendly decisions. When you’re considering your delivery methods, next day delivery may be at the top of your list in terms of perks you’re offering, but it’s worth considering that 9 in 10 consumers said that they would like to see an eco-friendly shipping option in the checkout when purchasing goods online – and meant it too, with a staggering 82% saying that they would wait an extra day if it meant their goods were shipped in a more eco-friendly way.

Offering eco-friendly shipping doesn’t have to be complicated or involve you working out offsets for each delivery either – some couriers offer zero carbon deliveries as standard, and many are looking at expanding their fleet to include electric vehicles. Don’t forget, if your parcels are within 45 x 35 x 8cm and under 2kg, you can use Royal Mail as your courier – a low carbon delivery solution as existing vans are already visiting every house on every road around the country.

Whilst offering some sustainable solutions can be more expensive for businesses up front, environmentally conscious consumers are actually willing to pay more for your eco efforts. 80% of consumers say they’re happy to pay more if it means businesses use eco-friendly packaging and shipping methods. If you do pass on costs directly to your customers – make sure you explain the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ you’re doing and not only will they understand, but they’ll appreciate your honesty and authenticity with your sustainability.

It’s fair to say consumers really do care and are actually showing just how much they do when it comes to going green. If making the planet a better place isn’t enough of a reason for businesses to step up their sustainability game, then perhaps this proof that bottom lines could actually benefit by doing so causes some to start.

Wherever you are on your sustainability journey, we’re here to help. From top tips and guides, to sustainable packaging solutions, supply chain audits, and BCorp certification help – we’ve got a team of experts on hand to help you every step of the way. Get in touch with us and we’ll do everything we can to answer your questions.

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