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Report reveals failure across DTC brands to deliver on sustainability promises

The report states that 68% of the UK’s top 50 DTC retail brands fail to promote any sustainability messaging on their packaging

Last week’s IPCC report on the ‘code red emergency’ facing humanity set the fashion and retail industry ablaze after revealing its poor environmental credentials. The new data published shows a complete failure on the part of DTC brands to live up to the sustainability promises they have made.

The research conducted by Parcel Lab reveals that almost one in five (18%) of the UK’s top 50 DTC brands are still relying on plastics to package their products and 30% include plastic packaging within the parcel itself. Two-thirds of these same brands (68%) fail to promote any sustainability messaging on their packaging at all.

Yet the DTC report, which looks at different aspects of the customer journey, also reveals that six in 10 customers are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce the negative impact on the environment.

These findings are in line with a BBC Global News survey that found 68% of consumers are happy to pay more for brands with strong sustainability and eco-friendly practices, and some 57% say they would stop buying a product they were previously loyal to if they discovered it was not committed to sustainability.

Tobias Buxhoidt, founder and chief executive of Parcel Lab, commented on the findings: “Customers have shown time and time again that they are willing to change their spending habits to make environmentally-conscious choices in the delivery process.

“While many brands may preach about their sustainability credentials or environmentally-conscious approach to retail, they aren’t showing flexibility or willingness to allow their customers to make more eco-friendly choices where deliveries are concerned.

“Whether it’s auditing package sizing to reduce waste, offering carbon offsetting or giving customers the option to purchase unbranded packaging with only relevant recycling information, there exists a whole gamut of measures brands can take to give back power to the consumer and allow them to make more sustainable choices.”

What did the Parcel Lab survey find?

  • Almost one in five (18%) of the UK’s leading DTC brands still rely on plastics to package their products.

  • 30% include plastic packaging within the parcel itself and only 6% offer the choice of less packaging for delivery.

  • The study also shows that some 55% of DTC retailers fail to offer customers the option of paperless returns.

  • 52% of DTC retailers also include branded inserts within their parcels. Regularly used as a marketing tactic, these materials are often thrown away, making them an unsustainable option for brands.

  • Just 4% of the DTC brands studied offer the choice of carbon neutral delivery as an option at the checkout, and only 6% offer less packaging for delivery.

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