How should marketers navigate sustainability trends for the new decade?

Businesses are encouraged to make available sustainable options for consumers

Times are changing. After a devastating decade of environmental and humanitarian crises on the rise, there is now a greater demand for transparency and responsibility from companies and governments.

Sustainability is an important topic and businesses will increasingly feel the pressure to deliver on positive change - such as reducing carbon footprint, and taking a more active role in combating the effects of climate change.

While Gen Z, Millennials and Gen Xers may be leading the charge for climate change activism, demand for corporate sustainability transcends all ages. People across generations are more aware of the need for change, and companies are feeling the urgency to take action towards a more sustainable environment.

Here are RB Group’s sustainability predictions that can help brands to collectively address and action issues such as climate change and global warming.

Take action now

Over 7 million participated in the Global Climate Strike in September 2019, making it the largest environmental demonstration in history. Inspired by the courage of students around the world, Redbubble and TeePublic shifted to a more public stance to advocate for serious global action. This included rallying employees and the broader community to stand in solidarity with the brave who are calling for action on the climate emergency.

Companies can look at a carbon reduction plan to address their carbon footprint and prepare for a future that moves quickly away from environmentally degrading activities. Customers will demand it, and more broadly, citizens will be expecting it, so companies need to be prepared for the inevitable change that is coming.

Countries that are slow to adopt carbon reduction policies will fail to become the global leaders in the new economy and this will damage their national competitiveness. The US was early to set up supportive policies for the digital economy and has been a huge economic winner in this area. This will be the same with climate action.

Rethink business practices

Businesses are encouraged to make available sustainable options for consumers. As more than 60 nations have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050, it is time for companies to take immediate action to track and reduce environmental impact.

Businesses can start reviewing production processes and find ways to limit single-use plastics in products or packaging, which can help prevent waste pollution. RB Group’s print-on-demand model, by only making products a customer has bought, instead of overproduction, is also a way to limit waste.

Another area to target is reducing transportation-related emissions associated with getting products to customers. Some initiatives that will improve transportation efficiency are reconfiguring trucks to carry more goods to reduce the number of trips, or local sourcing, a strategy that RB Group adopted which has yielded not only a reduction in our carbon footprint but also greater customer satisfaction by reducing shipping times. We’ve combined this with a global carbon offset program for all our shipping and are currently working with partners to reduce the carbon emissions further up the supply chain.

Become a part of community campaigns

We are entering a critical decade in which companies must look towards collaborating with the community and other NGOs to really move (and save) mountains. Work together to advocate for action on important human rights and environmental responsibility issues. Stay socially aware and recognise community movements campaigning for change, such as "Bless The RFS" and "#TooStrongforyouKaren" to help build momentum behind important issues.

We live in a time where expectations of companies are changing - from communities, from employees and other stakeholders. While RB Group does not intend to act in a politically partisan manner, we do aim to selectively and thoughtfully engage in partnership with the Redbubble and TeePublic communities, other community initiatives, as well as business coalitions like Not Business As Usual to advocate for action on the important issues of our time.

It’s worth mentioning that our head office is based in Melbourne and that bush fires are continuing to ravage Australia. It is heartbreaking, and we are doing what we can to lend a hand. Together with TeePublic, we will be donating profits from related sales to Zoos Victoria to help bushfire-affected wildlife. If you can, please spare some time to see the ways you can also help.

Louise Lambeth is the chief of staff at Redbubble Group

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