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Businesses Serving Sustainable Consumers Must Understand Them

eco-friendly businesses must think from the perspective of their customers

A growing number of businesses are trying to operate with environmentally friendly practices. Unfortunately, they don’t always follow the right approach. One survey shows that 70% of consumers don’t trust companies that claim to follow eco-friendly business practices.

The last thing that you want to do as a green company is be accused of greenwashing. Volkswagen is one of the many brands that faced embarrassment of greenwashing after getting caught falsifying data on emissions tests to appear eco-friendly.

Even well-intentioned companies can fail to create true green brands. One of the biggest reasons is that they don’t understand their customers very well. If you want to run an eco-friendly business, then you are going to have to familiarize yourself with the philosophy that eco-friendly consumers embrace. Keep reading to learn more.

What Eco-Friendly Businesses Must Understand About their Customers

You want to create an eco-friendly blueprint for your business. In order to do this, you must understand your customers.

Fuel prices are rising, there’s more and more demand for energy globally, and fossil fuels are known to be pollutants. So what can consumers do to combat adverse environmental impacts and rising costs? 

Have you ever considered adopting a more sustainable mindset? Sustainability is a movement that is gaining traction worldwide, and more consumer goods are being produced and packaged in reusable materials. One survey showed that 75% of customers consider sustainability when buying products and services. As a business owner, you will need to know how to reach them.

This is what most customers are looking for when they are trying to search for green products and services. You will have to keep this in mind when selling to them. When they want to find alternatives to the traditional consumption model and adopt a lifestyle of sustainability, first, they need to understand what it means to be sustainable. As a company serving them, you will need to understand the concept of sustainability as well.

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is defined by something, in this case, energy production and consumption, being able to be maintained at a certain level or rate. Another way to define sustainability is avoiding using natural resources to the point of depletion. In other words, only using what is needed and nothing more creates a balance between what is produced, used, and needed. 

Sustainability in the modern context is the idea that, as global citizens and consumers, we need to make a more conscious effort in what we use. The concept of sustainability is only to consume resources as needed and to provide opportunities for those resources to be in abundance for future generations. 

Put in another way; sustainability consists of taking care of our current needs but not at the expense of the needs of future generations. Another key component is establishing a balance of economic growth, environmental protection, and social well-being. And there’s growing consumer demand for sustainability products and services. 

One aspect of the sustainability movement is the zero-waste movement which emphasizes a lifestyle that circularly uses all types of resources. That consumption should leave nothing unused and unable to replenish itself, mimicking the natural order of things.

The general idea is that consuming a resource shouldn’t leave waste and negative consequences. Instead, it can be a bridge toward future resources. An example of this is the idea of composting. When you consume food, there are leftovers and byproducts. So instead of throwing it out, the idea is to compost it, creating nutrient-rich soil to grow more food. 

States Leading the Way Toward More Sustainable Consumption

Seeing a need and increased demand behind the idea of sustainability has led many state and local governments to adopt policies and regulations that emphasize sustainable solutions to energy production, consumption, and consumer waste by-products. The top-10 list of states, in order of their emphasis on sustainability, are Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Maryland, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Connecticut, South Dakota, and Maine.

The concept of sustainability acts as a dual relationship between individuals and governments, with businesses not far behind. As more people stress their demand for sustainable options, states follow suit with regulations and tax advantages. 

The Pillars of Sustainability in Practice

The sustainability movement emphasizes 5-factors in decision-making regarding consumption. The 5-pillars of the movement are:

  • Impact on human health
  • Environmental impact
  • Respect for human rights
  • Respect for animal rights
  • Socio-economic advantage

All of these factors will be essential aspects of a sustainable business model. You will have to take this into consideration when creating your brand image.

As more governmental agencies and businesses respond to consumer demand for a more sustainable movement, changes are becoming more evident. The adaptation, and adoption of lowering the carbon impact from the production, transportation, and consumption of goods and finding alternative energy sources, is accelerating. 

For the consumer, you have a direct voice and vote and can influence these factors. You can do it by how you use your spending dollars wisely on products and companies that support a sustainability movement. 

Ways Consumers Can Live Sustainably

As a consumer, every dollar you spend is like a vote or message to the companies that produce the goods you’re consuming. Choosing to live sustainably and how you consume products is a way to influence the decision-makers to look at sustainable options in their production, packaging, and types of products they offer. 

Some of the ways you can vote with your dollar and choose a more sustainable consumption practice include:

  • Drive less, drive alternative energy vehicles (electric cars and trucks)
  • Find alternatives to traditional energy producers, like a sustainable energy company in your area
  • Green your home (solar, low-flow water devices, heat-tempered windows and doors, and more)
  • Think twice and prepare a list before shopping
  • Go plastic-free (refuse single-use plastic containers and bags, bring your sacks to the store, and buy compostable packaged items)
  • Make sure large purchases like appliances are energy efficient
  • Read labels on products (and avoid products that are made from harmful toxins and plastics)

Living sustainably is a philosophy that understands that an individual has an impact on the environment and that impact can have negative or positive ramifications in the future for other people. It’s a lifestyle of responsibility to take care of the resources we have now and make sure those same resources are available for the next generations. 

Make Sure You Understand Your Customers’ Needs as a Green Business

Green business owners need to follow the right practices to build their brand. They must start by thinking from the perspective of their customers. The guidelines listed above should help.

About author

Matt James, editor-in-chief at Smart Data Collective, is a veteran marketer & tech geek that has helped many large brands increase their online footprint. He specializes in influencer outreach and business growth.
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