4 eco-friendly practices to attract conscious customers
Consumer practices are shifting, with conscious consumption and online shopping rising in popularity. As both trends continue to grow, businesses need to rise to the challenge. Here’s four business practices that you can implement to attract socially and environmentally conscious customers.
- Eight out of 10 Australians are concerned about sustainability.1
- 46% of Australians prefer to buy from a business that is socially and environmentally responsible.2
- Reducing, reusing and recycling is one of the easiest ways to mitigate your business’ environmental footprint.
Sustainable business practices: a win for you, a win for the planet
According to our 2022 eCommerce Report, eight out of 10 Australians are concerned about environmental sustainability and one in four online shoppers select a brand for its ethical and sustainable practices.1
Businesses large and small are also thinking about ways to become more sustainable, not only because they realise it’s key to building long-term business resilience – but to appeal to those shoppers making their buying decisions based on a brand’s social or environmental policies.
If you’re looking for ways to adopt more sustainable practices while also appealing to a conscious customer, here are four key trends to tap into.
1. Ethically and environmentally conscious gifts
Australians love to give, and they also like to know their gifts are contributing to a more sustainable and equitable future. Offering products or services that reduce waste, give back to the environment or assist those less fortunate are a great way to appeal to this shopper. They might even help you contribute to the war on waste, too. Here are a few suggestions on how to attract the conscious gifter:
- Focus on the carbon footprint of a gift – how it’s made, where it’s from and what’s involved in sending it nationally or overseas.
- Donate a percentage of the proceeds to a local organisation or not-for-profit (such as 1% for the Planet, which raises money for global environmental causes).
- Offer products made from recycled or locally produced materials.
- Stock products that are less likely to end up in the waste stream when given as gifts. E.g. start selling indoor plants (read our guide on how to pack and ship plants in the mail here), food or ‘experience’ gifts.
2. Australian-owned and made products
While many consumers have been shopping local for years, the Covid-19 pandemic – by necessity - gave the movement a much-needed boost. Not only were consumers restricted to local businesses for long periods of time, especially in Victoria, but there was a real push to support Australian SMBs through what was an extremely difficult time.
The good news for businesses is that this commitment isn’t slowing down. In fact, 31% of Australian shoppers plan to buy more local products in 2022.3 So how can businesses keep up with this trend?
- Optimise your website for local search, such as ‘near me’ searches.
- Use social media ads, such as Facebook and Instagram, to target local customers.
- Promote your use of locally grown or made ingredients or components in your products.
- Take part in community events and markets to showcase your local business.
3. Sustainable and ethical fashion
Australians are amongst the world’s top consumers of fast fashion, second only to the USA. While it’s not a great statistic, it does suggest there’s a big opportunity for manufacturers and eCommerce retailers to distinguish themselves in the industry and attract the growing number of conscious consumers.
So how can those in the Australian fashion industry be part of the shift to more sustainable and ethical practices? Recent research shows that, while consumers are committed to buying more sustainable fashion, they lack an understanding of the environmental issues involved. This is a perfect opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to educate consumers about the processes that go into making their garments, and how these are contributing to reducing their environmental footprint. This could include:
- Detailed information on clothing about the source of the fabric, the amount of energy or water it took to make the garment, and how your business is offsetting the carbon created in its manufacture.
- Blog articles on your website highlighting your ethical employment practices, natural textiles used in your clothing or contributions to the community where the clothes are made.
- Information on how your business is contributing to the circular economy as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Not sure how the UN SDGs relate to your business? Check out our article, 10 steps to becoming a more sustainable business.
4. Reduce, reuse, recycle
It’s an old adage, but a goody. Originally coined in the 1970s, the three Rs are more important today than ever. And, for businesses, putting them into practice is not only going to attract a conscious consumer but mitigate your environmental impact at the same time.
It very much depends on your business type and size as to how the three Rs can be implemented. For example, those in the hospitality industry or fruit and vegetable retail might donate food scraps for composting in community gardens, ticking off all three in one go. If you’re in manufacturing, explore options for recycling your waste products, such as metal shavings or fibres for the development of composite materials. Similarly, look into ways of reducing water consumption and recycling wastewater.
These days, there are so many businesses, right across the production and supply chain, who are looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle, it’s not difficult to find a use for your waste products.
Here are some simple ways your business can reduce, reuse and recycle:
- Use recycled and recyclable packaging. All Australia Post satchels are made with recycled material, and parcel postage paid via the Post Office, Online Shop, or MyPost Business account is carbon neutral.4
- Conserve energy use in your store, office or factory.
- Source from environmentally responsible suppliers.
- Buy local, to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Manage hazardous or chemical waste responsibly.
Looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint at home? Read our article for 13 tips to try today.
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