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The Future Is Now... Sustainability

Retail Thoughts - Sustainability

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a virtual future casting summit. The summit took place over 3 days and was a whirlwind of discussions and presentations about consumer brands innovation and brands have responded to the changing landscape since the start of the pandemic.

Discussions touched on all sectors of the consumer world - food, beauty, fashion, travel, tech and media. Looking back over my notes a reoccurring theme kept coming to the surface although it was not a topic that was discuss specifically during the summit. Brand owners who have found a way to succeed or excel during these turbulent times have embraced and leaned into transparency, digital, local, sustainability and virtual but meaningful connections. So many of the recent innovations focus on sustainability - how can your brand take an authentic, meaningful approach to sustainability?

Here I will share interesting finds from the summit I attended.

So many of the recent innovations focus on sustainability - how can your brand take an authentic, meaningful approach to sustainability?

73% of consumers are now prepared to change their lifestyles to help the environment.

(WRAP, 2020)

Yasmin Dufourne (Amer Sports) shared one of the most telling pieces of consumer insights. She said this year has brought more inquires from existing customers about repairs to their sports equipment but also they have witness a bump in requests from consumers about how they can “refresh” their equipment. Many consumers recognizing there is nothing wrong with the equipment but maybe it’s a little outdated or could refreshed to look “new” again. To me this is a place for brands to consider. With many consumers turning away from fast consumption or at least giving it serious consideration a new revenue stream could be carved out of this space!

Many brands are embracing a new level of transparency around sustainability. Allbirds claims opened a carbon-neutral store in London earlier this year. They claim to be the first fashion brand to clearly state the carbon footprint of each product both in store and on- line. Allbirds founders recognize that sustainability is a big topic with complex issues so in addition to be transparent about the carbon footprint of each shoe they also are working on telling their story better by enlisting help from comedian Bret McKenzie. This is such an important component - communication or more importantly gaining a shared understanding.

Due to staple food shortages early in the pandemic and with the rise of “eating in” for every mean! Consumers have been taking an even closer look at food - asking questions like- What’s in it?, Where did it come from?, Is it good for me?, What’s it’s environmental impact?

In September US restaurant Just Salad launched its ‘Climatarian’ menu featuring its seven most planet-friendly dishes and adds carbon footprint information to all of its dishes on-line. Tapping into to consumers who not only want to eat for their own health and wellness but also for the planet.

Offering one step further there are brands considering climate positive impact. Scottish brand Nadar Gin uses nitrogen fixing peas as the base ingredient rather than grain or barley becoming the first farm to bottle climate positive gin.

Impact snacks in the US has a similar approach to snack bars - by creating the first climate positive snack bar.

Recently, Swedish food brand Felix opened a pop up grocery store - that prices products according to their carbon footprint - the more impact a product has on the environment the higher the price.

How will your brand do to respond to the changing consumer landscape and be good to the planet?

Looking forward to more discovery + innovation!

Julie Dugas

One of the Heads


I’m one of the heads at Studio|H2G. I’m not a writer (which you may have picked up on quickly!) I am passionate about the business of retail, consumer behavior and trends and dialogue around that thinking.

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