Sustainability refers to being more environmentally friendly and attempting to make the least impact in terms of using nonrenewable resources and creating carbon emissions. Customers want to be able to trust the brand they interact with, and sustainability shows a business’s care for its environment. Wall Street Journal mentions that for this to happen, “sustainability in a business is vital.” Sustainability equals resilience. That customer’s needs and expectations matter the most. According to Harvard Business Review, “consumers—particularly Millennials—increasingly say they want brands that embrace purpose and sustainability.” The ultimate goal for businesses to figure out is how their business can prioritize sustainability while increasing profits and customer engagement. Forbes suggests that “the big question businesses should be asking themselves is how could my business have anything to do with the environment.” This blog will talk about how businesses can meet customer expectations by using sustainable practices.
Incorporating Sustainability into Your Business
For a company to become “sustainable”, it must follow and incorporate certain attributes and characteristics into its policies and regulations. One example of this is using more biodegradable and compostable packaging, rather than plastic. When customers order take-out food, restaurants make an effort to use compostable and biodegradable cutlery rather than plastic ones when packaging their food. Other than this one, there are many other characteristics listed below that a company could embody to make their business sustainable.
According to Investopedia, “the environmental pillar often gets the most attention.” Companies aim to focus on reducing their damage to the environment as much as possible. The most common factor in this is the packaging. Customers make it a point to use to three Rs – reduce, reuse, and recycle. For example, food delivery apps have recently given customers the option to not receive cutlery with their orders. Customers can use their own cutlery to enjoy their meals without receiving and using one-use disposable cutlery. Aside from plastic cutlery, restaurants also make it a point to try their best to package the meal itself in a bio-degradable or reusable container. This way, customers can recycle or reuse the container to minimize waste.
Aspects of Sustainability Customers Care About
Use of Plastic
According to Deloitte, “61% of consumers have reduced their usage of single use plastics.” This is the most common tactic people can do as a way to take care of the environment. Over time, customers have reduced their purchasing of products made from plastic. This could be due to both ethical reasons as well as practical reasons. According to Deloitte, “ethical and sustainability issues remain a key driver for almost a third of consumers, who claim to have stopped purchasing certain brands due to related concerns.” These concerns could be the following:
- Animals being affected by discarded plastic packaging or products
- Plastic permanently entering water sources
- Not easy to recycle certain types of plastic
- Pollutes land and water
- High cost to clean up if damage is caused
Another tactic customers use to discontinue their usage of plastic is bringing their own shopping bags for grocery shopping. Using reusable shopping bags saves them the hassle of using and discarding single-use plastics, such as thin plastic bags tearing apart. Rather than facing extra charges for a plastic bag, customers choose to bring their own shopping bag to carry back the groceries they shop for.
When customers go shopping, an emerging priority is to look for eco-friendly options. Some customers choose to stop purchasing products from certain brands due to the lack of eco-friendly options. A common example in online shopping would be eco-friendly packaging. According to Business News Daily, “consumers often consider a company’s environmental footprint before purchasing products.” Is a business sending their products out in bulk to reduce pollution? Are they using paper or other recyclable materials rather than plastic for packaging? It’s questions like these that allow the consumer to make a decision to buy that brand’s products.
Switching to Renewable Energy Sources or Products
The reality is that most of our carbon footprints come from non-renewable energy resources and products, most of which come from our household appliances – television, kitchen appliances, air-conditioning, heating,…etc. According to the United Nations, “renewable energy sources – which are available in abundance all around us, provided by the sun, wind, water, waste, and heat from the Earth – are replenished by nature and emit little to no greenhouse gases or pollutants into the air.” The issue of climate change is real. There is so much renewable energy around that businesses can put it to good use to create eco-friendly products for customers and save the environment from monumental damage. The UN also suggests that “renewable energy is the cheapest power option in most parts of the world today.” Most customers don’t wish to spend money on renewable energy products because they assume it’s going to be expensive when it’s just the opposite!
Purchasing Fresh Local Goods
Fresh local goods are always better than exported foods. Purchasing freshly grown foods will help cut down carbon emissions and air pollution. Goods coming in from other countries face the risk of being exposed to chemicals to maintain the quality during shipping, whereas fresh local foods don’t face those same issues. Obviously, customers don’t desire to have insects and chemicals in their food. Green Business Bureau suggests that purchasing local foods will give customers a little more access to the quality of the goods. Making the decision to purchase local goods rather than exported goods will allow customers to build new connections, get special discounts, and support more local businesses through their shopping needs.
Addressing the Importance of Sustainability Through Customer Experience
When it comes to prioritizing sustainability for customers, businesses have to make tough decisions on which initiatives are easy for them to implement and which would be expensive wastes of time, in terms of revenue. By gathering feedback on customer priorities and needs, businesses have a better chance of putting practices in place that will actually impact customer decisions and bring in more business. Instead of needlessly investing in ineffectual strategies, businesses can see a better ROI on the strategies they decide to use. Sign up for a free trial of PxidaCX today and see how customer feedback can make a world of difference for your business!