The Death of the Sustainability Trends

Sustainability is a growing expectation from consumers rather than a trend that ebbs and flows. Values-driven consumers increasingly see sustainability as being imperative for brands as the assumption that they act in ways that don’t harm the environment becomes standard practice.

The plastic bag ban in Australia generated uproar and endless discussions from both sides of the fence but ultimately increased the consumer’s awareness of the sustainability issue. Three months later, this business decision from the supermarket giants led to Australians cutting their plastic bag habit by up to 80 percent. There is an increasing number of companies that are starting to employ measures to address the issue with bold brand moves toward sustainability that directly affect how consumers interact with their product. Nestle has started eliminating all plastic straws in its products and subscription services like Loop have started piloting a waste-free products in reusable packaging.

Other companies, like Happy Coco, have taken a subtler approach. Instead of trying to cut down on waste, which might impact customer experience, they have opted to make their bottles completely compostable. Locally, Returnr, an initiative from the founder of KeepCup, is trying to tackle takeaway food packaging waste. It works similarly to the reusable coffee cup idea but instead looks at reusable metal bowls as a way to reduce packaging that ends up in landfills.

In the current climate of wellness and social awareness, consumers expect brands to be sustainable and are prepared to pay the premium. As the number of these mindful consumers increase, it’s only a matter of time before sustainability becomes so ingrained in consumer expectation that it becomes the norm. Businesses, therefore, can’t afford to not be on the front foot of planning now.

Sustainability is indeed an inevitable question that companies and brands need to have an answer for and it’s the companies that are thinking about it now, that are future-proofing themselves in a much more strategic way. A great example of this approach is Corona’s sustainability initiative in 2017. They have an ongoing partnership with NGO Parley for the Oceans to protect the world’s oceans and beaches from plastic pollution. At the same time, they launched plastic-free six-pack rings to help drive this mission forward and further amplify the message of their sustainability effort.

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Author: Brian Llagas
Design Director @ The Edison Agency

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