The vast majority of consumers value sustainable brands and products and want to put an end to economic activity against nature. They are highly sensitive to the issues of climate crisis, social justice and new environmental standards. They deliberately choose companies that have recognized the need and the opportunities of sustainability and can accompany their personal journey.
After all, these companies are clearly sitting on the longer end of the stick. They can do a lot in terms of enabling climate protection. Customers honor this commitment by putting their Dollar towards those kinds of products. They place their trust in these companies and brands to integrate sustainability into their entire business instead of just greenwashing. This trust deserves attention through transparent and honest communication.
At the same time, some companies are already obligated to communicate by virtue of their size alone – in the form of mandatory CSR reporting. Others want to voluntarily disclose their supply chains to their customers. However, if companies make their commitment to sustainability voluntarily rather than compulsory, they can determine for themselves which topics and at what speed they embark on the sustainable transformation.
After all, economic success and honest and comprehensive social action have long ceased to be opposites. Sustainable integrity is increasingly demanded by companies that do not want to damage their brand through greenwashing and thus lose customers. So, when sustainability becomes more than an empty and sometimes heavily embellished advertising promise, it has positive consequences for brands. Better positioning in the competitive environment and vis-à-vis employees, and greater trust on the part of customers. So, here are four reasons why sustainable brands are more successful in the long term:
1. Reduced Costs – for the Company and its Customers
Saving on costs starts generally with keeping the environment and its resources in mind during production. Efficient use of resources and work processes reduces expenses and thus ensures a higher profit margin.
And that’s not all: More than a third of global consumers are willing to spend more money on sustainable products. If the company’s commitment to sustainability is communicated credibly and regularly, customers are happy to pay the higher prices. However, if you reduce your costs efficiently, you can offer sustainable products at competitive prices and thus make it easier for customers to decide to buy. If the price is the same, customers will automatically go for the product that has a better conscience.
Moreover, the last few years have taught us that crises, laws and audits make new investments necessary. Those who plan with foresight and sustainability in mind will invest when it fits into the budget and will not allow themselves to be surprised. The positive side effect: companies avoid possible penalties.
2. Competitive Advantages
Currently, consumers are actively looking for brands that use their power for more sustainability and especially for climate protection in a meaningful and holistic way. In doing so, they are also expressing very clearly what they expect from manufacturers and retailers: Ideas for active environmental and resource protection and transparency in the supply chain.
For products, this means that they are either sustainably produced or allow for a more responsible lifestyle of the buyer. Purchasing decisions will be positively influenced if consumers clearly recognize which brands they can trust with their sustainable concerns. At the same time, they will not forget if this trust has been abused by flimsy greenwashing.
Moreover, anyone who credibly assumes responsibility and creates opportunities for customers deserves to be given a voice and heard. But this communication will not remain one-sided. Those who transform their brand sustainably and allow customers to participate in this process make a name for themselves and sharpen their own brand profile. The clearer and stronger this voice is, the more convincing brands will be in the eyes of customers and competitors.
The competition also carries through to new innovations: Designing sustainable products requires creative ideas and truly new approaches. Through new dimensions of healthy and innovative competition beyond the actual product, we achieve the climate goal via new paths, that get imagined. Via the big idea, where everyone feels that a brand wants to give something back to society in form of climate protection.
3. Future Security
Consumers and policymakers are already making this clear: The competitive environment is getting tougher because the demands on brands are growing. Companies that take a sustainable approach now and build a good foundation for credible communication will be in a much better position in the future.
After all, a brand’s reputation is the result of intensive and continuous communication. It demands transparency and credibility with customers. It needs dialog about secure supply chains, sustainable partnerships and trustworthy documentation as a consistent, comprehensible story.
Only when a company’s sustainable practices are regularly communicated can they make the complex interrelationships comprehensible and become the new normal. With a new understanding of products and their impact on the climate, customers can make informed long-term decisions that have a positive effect on the climate. If you have created sustainable trust for your own brand, you will not only attract customers, but also new employees who share the vision and support it for a long time.
4. Psychological Advantages
Ultimately, sustainability is driven by corporate responsibility. Those who fail to live up to that responsibility can do great damage to their own image and to the company’s future path. The most recent example: German manufacturer Got Bag. With its promise to produce backpacks from 100 percent Ocean Plastic, the sustainable will was there, but unfortunately the honesty was not. What sticks with customers is not the good will to give plastic polluting the ocean a meaningful second life, but the egoistic exaggeration of a statement in order to promote one’s own sustainable commitment even more strongly.
However, those who consistently follow the path of sustainable transformation and take their own stakeholders along on this journey are constantly rewarded. Those who take their stakeholders along on the path, which will not happen overnight and certainly not in a straight line, deserve trust. Because it motivates management, employees and customers alike to make their contribution. Because the employees know why they work every day, and the customers know what contribution every well-invested dollar makes. Because every industry needs pioneers who take responsibility. They know that if they push this domino, others will fall very quickly. And until the last one falls, there is plenty to do.