I walk into my local drugstore needing shampoo. I scan the sea of colorful bottles beckoning to me from the aisles on my left and right. The shelf space, the colors, the graphics. One product claiming to be frizz free, another promising full hydration, another assuring color protection and enhanced shine. Each promise better and more seducing than the next. But these are merely false promises, and I know the labels hide a grim reality at how bad these products really are.
Businesses: instead of flaunting big fonts, bright colors and touted claims, you should be focusing on the facts. The facts that often end up in fine print on the back of bottles that your customers want to consider when making a purchase. Consumers today want to inform themselves as to how a product is made, the labor practices implemented, and the material used for packaging.
As a consumer myself, I can attest to this fact. I realize that each purchase I make adds up and therefore I take on the responsibility to stop purchasing from businesses that do not promote sustainable practices.
The culture around consuming has shifted and it is time businesses adapt accordingly. By establishing a business model that is sustainable, protects the planet, and meets the demands of 2020’s green consumers, businesses will ensure steady growth.
According to Stanford Social Innovation Review, 90% of CEOs say that sustainability is fundamental for success.
Practices of sustainability extend into ecological, social, and economic environments. Therefore, adopting a sustainable business model can be executed in a variety of ways by any company. Here are the different ways you can build your business to be green from the ground up.
To make sales sustainable it is necessary to focus on the products and services directly offered by the business.
Patagonia is a retail brand that sells a wide range of activewear products, including snow gear, fleeces, sleeping bags, and more. Their commitment to the environment is astounding and is highlighted in their dedication to using recycled and eco-friendly materials. 72% of Patagonia’s line uses recycled materials and 100% of their cotton grown organically.
In the process of manufacturing these products, there is the potential for excess use of plastic cardboard, and other packaging materials that threaten our environment. However, businesses have the power to maintain sustainability by focusing on resource minimization, energy conservation, and maintaining clean factories.
Patagonia reduces their company carbon footprint by honing in on reducing their waste in product manufacturing. Patagonia meets 100% of their electricity needs in the US with renewable electricity. Furthermore, Patagonia is dedicated to redesigning packaging to avoid waste. They work with the environmental department to review their impact on the environment through packaging and merchandising material. Patagonia’s goal is to use materials made from 100% recycled content.
3. Labor practices
A sustainable business model does not always refer to the strategic ways in which a company works to conserve an ecological balance. Being sustainable is conducive to the labor practices of a business as well. To uphold fair labor that is ethical, fair wages, hours, and conditions must be implemented by the company and maintained.
At Patagonia, 66,000 workers are supported by the Fair Trade program and 76% of their line is Fair Trade Certified sewn. Patagonia further protects their workers and the environment by offering a commuting program that has averted more than 1 million single occupancy vehicle trips.
4. Brand Ethos
A brand ethos is the backbone of any business. It has the power to differentiate you from competitors, create customer loyalty, and overall positively influence purchasing decisions of consumers.
Patagonia’s brand ethos is clear, distinct, and to the point, “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.” This mission statement is a call to action. A pledge to protect our environment. Patagonia avoids any accusations of hypocrisy or greenwashing by following through on their sustainable mission. Their goal is to be carbon neutral by 2025. The Patagonia website also provides extensive information on their sustainable business model, touching on their environmental and social responsibility. It also offers educational information for the daily consumer on the climate crisis, recycling, how to reduce your carbon footprint, and fast fashion.
As Patagonia has proven, these four areas of business have the potential to mitigate environmental and ethical problems to create a more sustainable and lasting brand for the future. However, to go green your business does not need to adopt all four of these sustainable practices. Big change starts with small steps. Businesses only need to adopt at least one of these eco-friendly strategies to help mitigate some of the environmental problems our world faces.
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