Global citizens today are becoming increasingly more aware of their impact on the surrounding environment. The Where the World’s Moving Global Report shows this is influencing how we make everyday purchasing decisions, where ‘two-thirds of respondents agree or strongly agree that sustainability is an important factor before they make any purchases or lifestyle choices.’
There are plenty of examples of brands around the world engaging with sustainable practices. This in turn has created a space where sustainability is no longer an afterthought, but something that customers actively seek, and businesses are happy to oblige. Not only do sustainable business practices benefit the environment, but companies are also seeing a positive effect on their own bottom line.
The business world is beginning to understand that consumers are looking for products and services that elevate a social purpose. In this sense, companies can ‘futureproof’ themselves, and the overall wellbeing of humanity, by staying in touch with a growing demand for sustainable and impact-driven brands.
From tech and travel to coffee and a t-shirt, here’s 3 examples of how the actions of individuals and businesses can influence how we engage with sustainable practices in our everyday lives.
Sustainability in corporate culture and the customer experience
Thomas Milburn, Associate Director of Corporate Citizenship, argues in the report that a lot of the responsibility for facilitating everyday sustainable practices lies with businesses. Especially because customers often have to be incentivised to partake in sustainability. This is largely because convenience is paramount to a lot of customer experiences. It’s notoriously difficult to truly convert people on good will alone.
This is why it’s important for companies to take lead in their internal production practices, along with encouraging their customer base to do so as well. This can be anything from implementing green policies to reducing energy consumption, to the diversity and effectiveness of company culture.
The research from the Where the World’s Moving report also supports this sentiment. Roughly two-thirds of respondents indicated they would prefer to buy from brands with a purpose beyond profit. This indicates consumers would prefer to impart sustainable change through their purchasing power, rather than changing their habits entirely.
Roughly two-thirds of respondents indicated they would prefer to buy from brands with a purpose beyond profit.
What can global citizens do?
The trickle-down effect of sustainable practices in businesses indicates that even down to the very minute things we do everyday, sustainability can become a norm for individuals too. Particularly for things which we might not have initially thought were causing damage, like the clothes we wear, and even down to our daily coffee hit.
A strong contender here comes from the reusable coffee-cup brand KeepCup, who’ve managed to create a product that people not only love, but also makes a huge difference in the amount of non-recyclable coffee cups that are disposed of everyday.
Beyond the simple act of switching to a reusable cup, another trend which has seen more and more people shift to a sustainable mindset is the increasing adoption of ethically made clothing.
The rejection of the ‘fast-fashion’ movement, whilst perhaps not universal yet, is a growing way that the average person can make more conscious choices in their daily lives. There are also a number of brands leading the charge here, providing a product that is not only both fashionable and marketable, but also one that has a greater social purpose.
Experiencing the world shouldn’t come at a cost
As the world becomes more global, people are becoming more mobile. Meaning that the ability to travel the world has become increasingly more accessible and desirable as a lifestyle choice. While this is great for an abundance of reasons, the long-term impact of travel and tourism on existing cultural sites and local communities can be devastating if more isn’t done to impart sustainability practices as part of that experience.
There are lots of ways to do this, from making more conscious choices of where to go so that local communities and economies can benefit, to using ‘slow’ travel methods like trains and buses rather than airlines.
Beyond tourism, the growth of global citizens indicates that more people are moving abroad permanently. According to the report, sustainability plays a big role in where people choose to live. Overall, 60% of respondents agree or strongly agree that sustainability is an important factor when deciding their city of residence. China in particular takes strong consideration of sustainable practices, with 83% of Chinese respondents saying that it played a role in where they choose to live.
With excessive consumption, pollution and overpopulation of a lot of major cities, be that through tourism or long-term immersion, a number of places around the world are implementing sustainable practices in order to make their cities more appealing for future residents. From co-living to garden cities, there are an abundance of examples of where the individual can also take action when it comes to living more sustainably abroad.
The domain of sustainability is no longer an afterthought on the backburner of people’s consciousness. It’s become an industry in itself, determined to shake up the traditional way of doing things, largely because it’s now a necessity. The effects of environmental damage are hard to ignore, and with more and more people and businesses creating positive impact large and small, a healthier bottom line (and earth) could be on the horizon.
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