Within the go green movement, we can find trends like sustainable fashion, zero-waste practices, recycling, reducing single-use plastics, and eating a plant-based diet. The “eco-friendly” movement has increased popularity as more people realize the threats our planet faces. If we look at the history of green marketing – used to highlight the environmental benefits of products, services, or ideas offered to consumers – we can find initiatives launched in the late 1980s. The continuous effort to help our planet from a business perspective has gained strength over time as more companies join the movement (intentionally or not), bringing new ideas and best practices.
Can we say that today’s eco-friendly trends are just trends?
Why should we “go green?”
Our planet faces threats like global warming, deforestation, and polluted oceans. Many of today’s threats are man-made and grow at an accelerated pace. According to the UN, we only have “12 years to limit climate change catastrophe” (Kimmorley and Moynihan). Even though there has been substantial damage resulting from past events, we can still help our planet. More consumers around the world are understanding the importance of being “eco-friendly.” When a consumer buys an eco-friendly product, it does not only benefit the company that sold it, but it has an environmental impact as well.
Joining the movement
Many companies are now welcoming more sustainable options to reduce plastic packaging and waste. Today’s trends include reusable bags, bottles, and cups; as well as non-plastic straws and toothbrushes. Earlier this year, Ben and Jerry’s announced that by 2020 they would move from plastic packaging to biodegradable or compostable alternatives (Responsibly Sourced Packaging | Ben & Jerry’s). Supermarkets like Whole Foods offer paper bags instead of plastic, as well as bulk grocery sections where consumers can bring their own reusable containers. Veganism is also on the rise, introducing a market that excludes animal products in food, fashion, and other categories, as well as the use of animals in entertainment. Land use, water depletion, climate change, respiratory inorganics, marine water eutrophication, and freshwater eutrophication are affected up to 84% less by a plant-based diet, according to a study led by expert Nicole Blackstone (Blackstone et al. “Linking sustainability to the healthy eating patterns of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans: a modeling study” ).
In regard to non-plastic packaging, there is a new variety of bar shampoos, deodorants, and soaps on the market. Companies like Ecopod offer solutions to dispense home care and personal care products into reusable containers, therefore helping the go green movement and attracting more consumers. One of P&G’s “Ambition 2030” goals includes enabling responsible consumption “through packaging that is 100% recyclable or reusable” (P&G Supplier). Companies are also beginning to remove palm oil from their products, as it impacts deforestation.
Everyone can help
Becoming eco-friendly is not limited for businesses who solely offer products, but services as well. The eco-friendly movement involves more than creating initiatives to lower the consumption of plastic and reducing waste. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become more important to consumers as they tend to buy from companies who share their same values. Companies that partner up with environmental non-profits are valued by consumers – especially by Millennials and Gen Zers.
Are today’s eco-friendly trends just trends? Eco-friendly consumption has had a significant increase over the past several years. Trends typically fade over time as their lifecycle ends. Eco-friendly trends are not just trends. Eco-friendly initiatives have been present in the market for decades and keep increasing. What once was known as “eco-friendly trends” are now becoming “eco-friendly lifestyles” due to the critical situation our planet is in today. The market shift of eco-friendly consumption is certainly not decreasing in the near future. Moving away from simple trends to lifestyles implies that companies should take action, regardless of the good they offer. While some companies might not be ready to go plastic-free, they should still strive to implement any type of eco-friendly initiative. Incorporating these initiatives into their marketing efforts will not only have a positive impact on their image and attract consumers, but it will also help our planet.
“Ambition 2030.” P&G Supplier Site, Apr. 2018. www.pgsupplier.com/en-US/suppliercitizenship-blog/ambition-2030
Blackstone, Nicole, et al. “Linking sustainability to the healthy eating patterns of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans: a modeling study.” The Lancet Planetary Health, vol. 2, issue 8, 2018, pp344-352. doi: 10.1016/S2542-5196(18)30167-0.
Kimmorley, Sarah and Moynihan, Ruqayyah. “The UN has warned that we only have 12 years to curb climate change.” Business Insider Australia. Oct. 2018. https://www.businessinsider.com/the-un-has-warned-that-we-only-have-12-years-to-curb-climate-change-2018-10
“Responsibly Sourced Packaging | Ben & Jerry’s.” Ben & Jerry’s Site, Ben & Jerry’s/ Scoop Shop Packaging, www.benjerry.com/values/how-we-do-business/responsibly-sourced-packaging
Veronica Scarlett Lopez Martin is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. Scarlett graduated in May 2018 from The University of Tampa with a Degree in International Business and Marketing. She currently works at CenturyLink as a CSM-Customer Support Manager within the strategic enterprise and government markets division. She is a blogger for the AMA Tampa Bay, with a background in marketing and technology.
Connect with her on LinkedIn.