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The reasons why consumers buy certain products has changed over time.

In the 1970s and 1980s, consumers wanted the highest quality for the lowest price. In the 1990s and 2000s, they wanted exclusivity and luxury.

Now, sustainability is at the heart of the majority of consumer purchases.

Here are some of the reasons why sustainability in the retail sector is so important, and how you can introduce corporate social responsibility to your brand.

Why are good sustainability practices in retail so important?

Consumers are becoming more environmentally friendly. They’re making a move to electric vehicles, shunning single-use plastics and petitioning governments to support climate change initiatives. These ethical practices are most prominent in Millennials and Gen-Zers, who collectively make up 42% of the UK population.

Not only are consumers introducing sustainability into their lives, but they want the brands that they buy to be environmentally friendly too. According to a poll by Sendcloud, 62% of UK consumers prefer to buy from companies that are reducing their use of plastics, with 33% admitting that they would be happy to pay a premium for sustainable products.

What does this mean for your brand? It means that consumers are more likely to purchase from businesses that put sustainability at the centre of everything they do.

If this doesn’t quite convince you, bear in mind that the laws around sustainability are rapidly changing. In 2030 the Government will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles and in 2050, the UK will be required to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero.

This means that you need to start futureproofing your brand as soon as possible, so you don’t get left behind.

Ways that your brand can champion sustainability

Investing in sustainability is not only the right thing to do, but it will help make your brand more appealing to prospective consumers.

Here are some of the ways that you can encourage sustainable practices.

  • Be transparent. Consumers want to see the steps you are taking to become a greener brand. For example, don’t just say that you want to reduce the amount of packaging you use. Detail the specific ways that you will change how you will package your goods
  • Take small steps. Even the smallest actions can help improve your sustainability. For example, rather than printing paper brochures, you can publish them on your website. You can review your supply chain and work with other sustainable businesses. You can let staff work from home rather than commuting to the office
  • Help your consumers. Nine out of ten consumers want brands to help them lower their carbon footprint.Think about what you can do as a business to help empower the people that buy your products. Take footwear brand Etnies, which plants a tree for every pair of shoes that consumers purchase

Sustainability took a back seat with the pandemic, but now lockdown is easing and people are returning to stores; ethical practices are now back on the agenda.

What steps will you take to ensure your brand is a sustainable one?

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