More sustainable option

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Why is consumer behaviour changing now?

There’s no doubt that over the last couple of years consumers have started becoming more conscious of their choices when shopping. 

In 2017 David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II  was aired.  The series focused on how plastic pollution was damaging our oceans and became a catalyst for changing consumer behaviour.

17 million people viewers tuned into the series and it ignited social media feeds with trending topics on how to reduce plastic pollution.  It also came to the top of the political agenda with action being taken to ban plastic straws, cotton buds and wet wipes.

The momentum continued in 2018 with Greta Thunberg.  In May 2018, Greta aged 15, won a climate change essay competition in a local Swedish newspaper. And, by August of that year, she started protesting in front of the Swedish parliament building.

Her actions didn’t stop at protesting outside the Swedish parliament but also inspired many young people around the world to take action. According to environmental campaigners more than 1.4 million young people took part in school strikes for climate action in support of Greta’s campaign.

Plastic Pollution

Zero Waste and the circular economy

Bea Johnson published her first Zero Waste book, The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste, in 2013.  The fundamental principles in her book are around creating a circular economy and reducing waste.

A simple way to follow the Zero Waste principles is to look at the 5 Rs.

Zero Waste The 5 Rs

  • Refuse – Learn to say no! Say no to food wrapped in plastic.
  • Reduce – Think before you buy. 
  • Reuse – If things break, repair them or have them repaired.
  • Recycle – If you’ve managed to Refuse, Reduce and Reuse then you shouldn’t have a lot left but make sure you separate out your remaining rubbish and put the recyclable rubbish in the recycling bin.
  • Rot – Compost your food waste and use it to fertilise your

With growing consumer awareness of environmental issues this has also seen an increase in people following the principles of Zero Waste.

Businesses that are looking to appeal to new consumer attitudes are trying to address the environmental impact they have and are looking at services such as The Green Alchemist, a company providing the World’s first marketplace for buyers and sellers of recyclable materials.  Recycling is one of the 5 fundamentals of Zero Waste supporting the circular economy by ensuring that waste doesn’t end up in landfill but instead goes back into the manufacturing process to make more goods for consumption.

Anything that businesses can do to strengthen their environmental credentials will help them appeal to consumers looking for change.

Has this environmental awareness impacted Consumer Behaviour?

The answer is YES.  With the growing realisation of the impact our shopping choices can have on the environment the number of Zero Waste shops offering sustainable alternatives has been steadily growing. 

Zero Waste shops are filling the gap for consumers that want to reduce plastic packaging by offering dried goods in dispensers that you can fill your own containers with.  Many also offer refillable washing up liquid, shampoo, household cleaners and more.  They also tend to stock eco friendly alternatives such as bamboo toothbrushes etc.

As well as offering a sustainable alternative these type of shops tend to have a less aggressive approach to business and a more holistic kinder approach which appeals to customers looking for a more sustainable option. They are also more likely to give something back to the the communities they work in and actively support environmental campaigns with initiatives such as planting trees for every sale or donating a percentage of their profits to charity.

The impact of the Covid 19 pandemic has also seen businesses switching to online platforms and using services like Why Matters a digital marketing agency.  Why Matters works with Shopify users to help them promote their online green businesses  and their strong set of core values particularly appeals to these eco friendly businesses.

A recent article published by Deloitte’s “Shifting sands: How consumer behaviour is embracing sustainability” suggests that concerned consumers are adopting a raft of different measures to shop and live more sustainably, stating that:

  • 43% of consumers are actively choosing brands due to their environmental values.
  • 2/3 of consumers have reduced their usage of single use plastics.
  • 34% of consumers choose brands based on their ethical credentialsS
Zero Waste Shop

Conclusion

There is definitely a growing momentum for change. And it appears that consumers are actively looking for alternative ways to shop; and where possible a high percentage of them will choose to shop with the kinder, more sustainable option. They are more likely to choose a business with strong environmental and eco friendly credentials who also give something back to the community or actively support good causes.

If you would like to learn more about Zero Waste check out my Blog What is Zero Waste

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