Being on a panel on developments in circularity at this year's flagship Sustainable Brands conference was a privilege and also an education. This is well and truly the big end of town, but these are the big, global brands that can truly change the world. Whilst its tiny pieces in a much larger jigsaw puzzle, the fact that Proctor and Gamble have developed the first refillable Olay skin product containers; that Danone is the world's largest B Corporation; and that Ford Motors is sticking to the Paris Accord no matter whether or not the current administration is, and that it is committed to using 100% renewable energy in manufacturing by 2023 is pretty exciting stuff.
Being in Detroit and learning about an inexorable consumer shift towards 'the good life' and sustainability, as well as hearing how the big boys are responding, truly felt like we are on the cusp of an irreversible change in both manufacturing and consumer behaviour. Whilst there is an intent/action gap of 65% of people saying they want to purchase from purposeful brands and only 26% following through, according to research by NYU Stern's Centre for Sustainable Business, the sales of sustainably marketed products were up 29% in 2018, compared to 2013. Despite only representing 16% of the market, sustainable products represented 50.1% of market growth and these products grow over 5% faster than conventional products. It's truly happening.
Wunderman Thompson tells us that 83% will pick a brand with a better track record on sustainability, and that, as above, 86% of those surveyed think depleting resources is theft, its stealing from our future. 75% want to minimise their consumption and 77% think bad brands should cost more.
Despite all this, Shelton Group tells us that whilst 92% of us claim to be trying to live more sustainably, 54% think we could be doing more. Apparently 85% refuse single use plastic, but only 20% always refuse it - the behaviour gap!
I could go on about this for quite some time, but instead I will leave you with the astounding fact put forward by William McDonough, that plastic bags replaced paper ones in the 1970s, because they took less space in landfill! So let's go easy on the baby boomers, this was how the world was thinking 50 years ago. In terms of Gen Z and the Millenials, they want to see things improve and feel their biggest influence is as a consumer. They are far more likely to vote with their wallets than stress about the recycling, and as baby boomers are much more likely to do the latter, between us all, we just might get there.
Back to circular life on a tiny scale, today we launch our second colour - drum roll - Vintage Peach, available online now via pre-sale until 19th August 2019!