Statistics are necessary for selling sustainability. This sentence may induce childhood lisps, but it is true and it goes with the adage- know your audience. Who are you trying to please? Are you communicating with people within your company? Are you communicating with consumers? Are you communicating with vendors that may sell your products? Are there readily available and citable statistics for your particular industry and circumstance? Do you need to do your own surveys and pilot projects to see the outcomes?
There is no shortage of sustainability success stories, public surveys, environmental outcome data, consumer data, and trends to drive home the case for sustainability. It’s a matter of finding the ones that are important to your company, your customers and suppliers.
Products and Retail Stats
If you are trying to get a retail supplier to up its sustainability game, you may wish to point out that a survey of 30k+ consumers found that consumers want to purchase the more sustainable option, but they are wary of corporate claims. Reassure your customers with a trusted, third party certification and a good sustainable marketing plan.
Digging deeper, more stats may be available for your particular industry. For instance, if you are in the fashion industry, you will want to know that according to Nieslon, millenials are twice as likely as boomers to purchase sustainable products; a staggering 75% of millenials prefer to buy sustainably. Additionally, when consumers are searching for fashion on the web, Lyst logged a 47% increase in sustainability-related keywords in web searches. Large retailers like Walmart and Target are giving suppliers scorecards on their sustainability efforts and choosing the brands in their stores based on these scores. If you want your products on the shelves, you’ll need to consider the sustainability of your operations and your product.
If you are in the beauty industry, there are a multitude of beauty bloggers sharing the benefits of sustainably produced beauty products. Dubbed the “ethical consumer“, this market sector can no longer be ignored and is quickly taking precedence. Health concerns also drive this market and third party organizations such as EWGs Skin Deep Database have exposed some of the more toxic ingredients of beauty supply products so that consumers can make informed choices.
In the food industry, the demand for eco-friendly packaging has increased dramatically. “Sustainable packaging is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have for any brand looking to future-proof its operations against the rising tide of consumer scrutiny,” states Sustainable Packaging Unwrapped, a 2019 report from GlobalWebIndex. Terms like organic, fair trade and GMO free have become household terms. Largely, legislation is mandating action for the food industry to operate more sustainably.
There may be stats to convince certain decision makers within your company that sustainability helps them and is a key to their success, detailed in Before the Framework.
According to a survey commissioned by The Recycling Partnership and conducted by One Poll, 7 in 10 Americans would go out of their way to support a company that makes strong efforts to operate sustainably. Not only that, 8 out of 10 say that all products on the shelves should be sustainably-sourced within 10 years time. With this statement, a company could find themselves obsolete if they haven’t found a strong sustainability foothold in their market sector.
Convince Your Company Decision Makers That Conservation Has An ROI
Whether its energy, water or other resources, there is always a quantifiable return on investment for conservation. Energy Star Portfolio Manager provides some calculators for building operator/owners to quantify the ROI for certain energy efficiency upgrades. Replacing toilets, faucet aerators and shower heads are a cheap upgrade to save water. Saving water saves money on your water supply bill and your sewer bill. It also saves on your utility bill with less water to heat; a triple savings. Rebates for these types of upgrades still exist in some areas, but these upgrades pencil out so well that the rebates are even drying out. The savings are incentive alone. You can track the conservation outcomes for all, for free, on Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
Find a similar company that has tracked its conservation efforts and share the results with decision makers in your company. See if you can find out what kind of appetite for a timeline for ROI your decision makers have. Is it 2-3 years? Maybe 6 months? For instance, are they willing to opt for solar energy which has a 6-10 year payback? Try to work within their preferred timeline for success initially then push for some bigger investments in conservation that will result in big savings, but may have a longer ROI timeline.
Create Your Own Data
If there are no specific data for your industry, consider doing some surveys of your own or design a pilot program with measurable outcomes to garner the data you need. If set with intention, this can both help guide a company toward sustainability and gain a customer base as they follow you on the journey. One of the best things that Patagonia– one of the more sustainable companies on this planet- does is that they say that they still have work to do. They continually involve their consumers and their suppliers on their sustainability journey.
Communicate Your Efforts or They Will Go Largely Unnoticed
Many companies deploy significant sustainability efforts, with far reaching and globally beneficial outcomes. But if those outcomes are not louder than the ever-present, ill-informed, but ever digitally present blogger or press person, then your company could still be left in the sustainability doldrums. Be sure to toot your own horn loud and wide as companies like IKEA do. Include your customers and partners in your journey so there is no mistaking the intentions.
We’d like to see if we can help find some helpful statistics and data to help you communicate sustainability issues. Contact us for a no-fee consultation.