Consumers make sustainability a business imperative


Progress in Big Tech:

  • Following wide publicity on its large-scale destruction of returned and unsold goods, Amazon cleans up its act by letting third-party sellers list certain returned products as “used” on its site. It also now offers customers the option to select their weekly “Amazon Day” (which consolidates the week’s orders into one delivery, reducing packaging waste) and is investing heavily in solar panels and wind farms. .
  • Microsoft has pledged to share product drawings with suppliers outside of its authorized service network, after shareholders argued for the customer’s right to repair their own devices.
  • These companies, as well as Apple, Google, and Meta, have undertaken to respect carbon neutrality deadlines, setting a bar to be observed for other companies, under penalty of reprisals from consumers.

Fashion is making great strides:

  • Fast fashion is out, sustainable fashion is right: Clothing rental services, such as Rent the Runway and Harrods’ My Wardrobe HQ, have taken off and will continue to grow their customer base in 2022.
  • The RealReal, Poshmark and Depop resale markets are also on the rise, while established retailers like lululemon, Ikea and Urban Outfitters have launched resale initiatives.

Consumers are increasingly integrating sustainability into their online and offline purchasing decisions. They pay attention to the ethical practices of sellers, that the products or their components are from sustainable sources, and whether they have product packaging (size, material and recyclability) and delivery (vehicle and equipment options). ‘location) respectful of the environment.

Post-purchase, the principle of circularity feeds the second-hand and resale market, in particular for clothing and accessories. Retail brands that fail to meet high consumer expectations will quickly lose relevance as the fast-paced fashion industry learns.

It’s not just retail: While retail may be affected the most by changing consumer preferences, sustainability will impact other sectors. In financial services, socially responsible investment will gain momentum, and in the automotive industry, electric vehicle manufacturers are feeling the pressure to seek alternatives to the toxic elements in their batteries.

The big takeaway: Thinking about sustainability has shifted from getting bonus points for brands to being at the table.


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