How to respond to consumers' sustainability demands

How to respond to consumers’ sustainability demands: time to translate words into deeds

How important is sustainability to consumers? It’s a question many companies have asked themselves in recent years. Research conducted by Motivation shows that more than two thirds of Dutch people believe the climate impact of common products should be reduced, but 39% think producers and manufacturers should be the first to take action.

Awareness seems to be growing. Why, then, do little people put their money where their mouths are? It’s an interesting say-do gap. Here’s the problem: consumers often don’t know which product is best to buy, what’s good for the environment, and which social factors are important. It’s not that they don’t want to pay a little extra — they simply aren’t offered the facts required to make the right decisions.

So, how can companies respond to consumers’ desire to contribute to a better environment and benefit from it by leading with transparent, inspiring choices?

Embracing the lifecycle assessment

The solution lies in easily accessible and digestible information: you should provide products with the information consumers seek. How to go about it? By performing a lifecycle assessment (LCA), which measures a product’s environmental impact in CO2 equivalents. The following examples demonstrate how these create clarity at a glance:

  • The CO2 equivalent of regular milk is 3.2, while that of oat milk is 0.9
  • The CO2 equivalent of a strawberry grown in a greenhouse is 6.4, while that of a strawberry grown in a field is only 3.2 (and seasonal strawberries are also the best kind!)

Our partner Ecochain provides a helpful LCA tool, which we’ll elaborate on in our next blog post. For now, it’s important to know the tool considers a wide range of aspects, including raw materials, chemicals, the manufacturing process, heating, and transportation. The data it shows can be used to make well thought-out decisions.

Replacing hollow claims with substantiated information

Embarking on an LCA journey is no easy feat. So, why bother? The truth is, you can no longer make hollow claims such as “We’re carbon neutral.” Consumers want you to substantiate your statements and help them make more environmentally conscious choices. This will benefit your business and brand, too — for what company doesn’t want to offer products consumers are calling for?

On top of that, responding to consumers’ sustainability demands will support your innovation strategy. Your purchasing department will know exactly which ingredients or products to buy, your production department will know how to produce products, and marketing teams will be able to communicate in a more concrete way. You’ll no longer have to rely on claims in the vein of “This product is carbon neutral” or “It’s better for the environment” — generic statements that don’t help consumers make more conscious choices and that could even confuse them. You can now share substantive information about your product’s impact on the environment. And that’s exactly what consumers require in this day and age!

Want to know the ins and outs of an LCA? Make sure to read our next blog post.

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