Stoking demand for sustainable consumer products

Consumer products account for approximately 33 percent of each household's carbon footprint. The correct marketing strategy can change buyer and customer behavior to the scale needed by providing information that emphasizes the vision and benefits of sustainability throughout their buying journey and help them make better choices.

In October 2021, a study by Accenture found almost one-third of the largest European companies had made net zero commitments. In May 2022, McKinsey and Company reported that around 400 large US-based companies have also committed to net-zero targets.

The above findings, coupled with other stats from around the world, point to overwhelming support to governments from the business community for climate change and the acceleration of net zero transition. It sounds good and promising. But commitments do not move the economy; action does.

Businesses must now act on their commitment and build net zero value chains. In tandem, they must work incessantly to raise awareness in buyers and customers to be partners in this journey.

How can businesses raise awareness of the buyers and customers?

Galvanize their marketing departments. These professionals must employ data skills, creativity, and insights to create thoughtful and compelling content that reawakens buyers and customers to the urgency of combating climate change.

The shift from selling ‘the idea of material ownership’ to ‘the idea of ideological ownership’ is the key to marketing success. Over the last 100 years, marketers have been selling the idea of material ownership to consumers. Buy our product, and you own it. But now, there must be a more profound integration – buy our product and be a part of its ‘ideological purpose’. It is time for marketers to make this idea of participation seem exciting.

What favors marketers

According to a World Economic Forum report in May 2022, climate-conscious consumers, especially Gen Z, are increasingly scrutinizing value chain emissions. In a study conducted by First Insights, the world’s leading platform for enabling data-driven decision-making and experience creation powered by predictive analytics, 62 percent of Generation Z prefer to buy from sustainable brands, on par with Millennials. In comparison, 54 percent of Generation X and 44 percent of the Silent Generation said the same. They know that direct emissions within an industry impact the indirect emissions of suppliers and customers and vice versa.

This common ground encourages them to buy sustainable brands.

Is this awareness exclusive to some segments of the global population? Arguably, yes.
Not all buyers and purchasers are aware of climate change’s consequences. Also, other factors make people reluctant to buy sustainable products, such as a comparatively higher cost.

According to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report 2022, our planet is headed towards more warming than we thought. We may well breach the Paris Agreement’s stretch target of 1.5 degrees Celsius within 14 years and its backup target of below 2 degrees Celsius during the working lives of many reading this blog. It means the 2020s will be the decisive decade on climate change. We, and not our children, will first face severe climate impacts, and every consumer on the planet, irrespective of age, economic status, and race, must be made aware of this fact.

Roadmap for the marketing team in order ramp up the sale of sustainable products

In the low-carbon adoption curve, a purchaser’s position depends on the following:

  • How aware are they of sustainability and its connection with their well-being?
  • How much do they care about climate change?
  • How likely are they to act on awareness and change?

Depending on the possibilities based on the responses, we can categorize buyer personas into four main groups: Non-Ecos, Low-Carbon Opportunists, Low-Carbon Hopefuls, and Net Zero Heroes.

Our aim, which includes businesses, consumers, advocates, influencers, policymakers, and governments, is to help the first three groups merge into the fourth. There must be only one kind of global citizen, a Net Zero Hero.

An urgent to-do list

Some vital tasks for stakeholders to help ramp up sustainability:

  • Businesses must ensure their marketing departments actively promote sustainable choices as an infallible KPI. The new normal is to make sustainability an organic asset in consumer psychology.
  • Research to determine what stops buyers and customers from purchasing sustainable products.
  • How can we encourage them to switch to sustainable products effortlessly?
  • Study buyer personas to accelerate the transition.
  • Craft messages and stories to inspire buyers to become the change we seek.

Conclusion

The time to embrace sustainability as a way of life has long arrived, and we are still waking up to its clamoring presence at our doorstep. Sustainability is a world without borders; everyone is integral to it because our survival depends on it.

It is time businesses pushed their boundaries by raising awareness of it, not only by making sustainable products but also by building narratives about the journey of sustainability that will engage and inspire consumers and society to become a part of the crusade.

Yes, it’s nothing less than a crusade for humanity’s welfare.

Are businesses ready with the right product and the correct stories and content to power this movement? Because if you don’t tell the story of your crusade, it never existed.

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