Consumers Are Waiting for Your Sustainable Products
Published on: 21.05.2021
Do consumers care about a sustainable planet?
Despite the scary pace of climate change and the alarming facts on global warming, the answer to the question above is yes. Not only that, but consumers are driving sustainability.
The latest report by the Economist Intelligence Unit commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) confirms that even though people are more physically disconnected from nature than ever, individual awareness and action for nature has been increasing during the last five years. The eco-awakening report that measures global awareness engagement and action for nature reveals considerable growth in consumer demand for sustainable products and services.
Another important finding shows that awareness engagement is growing faster in the countries and communities that are more hit by biodiversity loss. This means that emerging markets are the perfect ground for sustainable entrepreneurship.
The hitherto impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues related to climate change such as natural disasters and people displacement, or environmental pollution have impacted people, especially the younger generation, especially in developing countries to push for change.
Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic reinforced the idea that biodiversity loss increased the risks for future pandemics. Hence, the share of people requiring environmental measures to be included in the post-pandemic recovery plans increased significantly.
First, this would require smart and innovative solutions to power the transition from a linear to a circular economy. The linear economy has been and continues to drain natural resources while generating tons of waste every day. Consumers are being more responsible for what companies support. They are looking for brand purpose, too.
According to the above-mentioned report, searches for sustainable products globally increased by 71 percent since 2016. The industries that are responding to this trend include fashion, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and the food sector.
How are people taking action?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, mass-protest movements on climate action and environment protection were gaining momentum. After the outbreak of the pandemic, people turned to digital technology, social media, and their power as consumers. Creating opinions, spreading useful knowledge and information, and community influencing are common ways how people, especially youth are facilitating action for nature.
Even though the pandemic forced schools worldwide to close their doors, people continue educating themselves and spread the knowledge they gain on environmental issues. Lockdowns speed up digital infrastructure to increase social and economic resilience. Therefore, social action took over social media.
It is estimated that over 60 percent of the world population were internet users by January 2021. This increases the accessibility and ability of people for digital activism and communication and making collective claims towards a target, either political or economic.
Starting a sustainable enterprise
The last years’ events and surveys are giving hints that this is a good moment for starting a sustainable business. People are willing to support those who prioritize societal wellbeing over personal profit. This doesn’t mean that people should invent new unheard and unseen products. On the contrary, they can improve a common product in a way that not only reduces waste, but that improves the lives of people without paying more for it. This means that sustainable products should not be considered a luxury. On the contrary, they’re a necessity. They should not cost the earth and the consumers’ pockets. Moreover, the product should not harm the environment through its lifecycle. Some companies label their products as sustainable because the production process is sustainable, but they live the burden or product disposal to the consumer.
The first step to get started is to have a clear and working definition of sustainable products and entrepreneurship that fits with a specific context or circumstances. This way it will be easier to find where the real problem lies and fix it. All these lead to important issues regarding sustainability. The term can be ambiguous and even misused by companies for marketing and branding purposes.
We suggest you take a short course on sustainable entrepreneurship. It would help you clear the clutter surrounding the topic and also to learn how to talk about sustainability in business clearly and simply.
Only when you understand sustainable entrepreneurship you will be able to take proper action or educate other people.
We live in a world of ample products that create countless problems. Why should we suffer from a scarcity of ideas to innovate those products into sustainable alternatives, especially now that consumers are searching for sustainable options more than ever?
Entrepreneurship is not easy, but the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition provides avid entrepreneurs an opportunity to get started. You can join just with a simple idea that contributes to at least one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and learn how to make it into a real product. Or you can learn how to alter that initial idea into a better and successful business concept. You can also join if you have an existing project and want to push it further into a sustainable model.
There are consumers out there waiting for your product. What are you waiting for?