Sustainability: What’s in it for the consumer?

Sustainability: What’s in it for the consumer?

Companies are quick to crow about their sustainability initiatives. The plans are bold, the commitments sincere, the costs probably staggering. But how can we make all those changes relevant to the customer? A study found that while about two-thirds of consumers believe we are reaching an environmental tipping point sustainable purchasing behavior has actually decreased in key markets such as the US, Germany, Japan and China. The gap between what consumers say in surveys and then actually do seems to be closing at a snail’s pace. Automotives are setting deadlines for a 100% electric fleet without a national charging infrastructure in place. And no one seems to be explaining why electric makes sense and is better. It’s not yet clear if new vehicle buyers are interested in, or ready for, a charge at home vehicle.

Walmart has been an early and aggressive sustainability advocate and participant, having set very strong goals across all chain operations. But, is the average Walmart customer aware or interested in the brand’s plan to achieve 100% recyclable packaging for their private brands by 2025? Should they care? Well, there’s a cost to be borne in all this, so at some point value for money and return on investment have to be weighed.

“What’s in it for me?” We applaud the commitments companies are making to a cleaner, and a healthier planet. But let’s move the communications from corporate communications to the marketing group. Let’s start now to promote the “why” of sustainability, not just the “what.”

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