HOW BIG NAME BRANDS ARE TAKING SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS MAINSTREAM
Sustainable consumer products have been in select demand for a few years, but only recently have they become much more common within big retail chains such as Walmart and Target. The reason behind this retail trend is no more complex than the fact that it has been increasingly profitable, but fortunately that is a direct side effect of a much more important trend: consumers caring about what’s inside a product and where it came from. Target’s former Director of Sustainability, Kate Heiny described the phenomenon. “With their words and wallets, our customers are asking for more sustainable products.”
Consumers have always called for sustainable products, it just wasn’t until recently that the big market consumer goods companies have started to listen. But in order for these companies to prove to their customers that sustainable products was something they actually cared about, they needed to put in the time and effort to audit their own goods. Target “painstakingly built its own Sustainable Product Standard. Working with UL’s Good Guide system, Target scores 7,000 products on a 100-point scale, with 50 points at stake related to the toxicity of ingredients. Additional points are awarded for reduced packaging impacts (can consumers recycle it?) and transparency (that is, sharing all ingredients on the product labels with deductions for things like “fragrance” without the details).”
While the current emphasis in regards to sustainable goods is what goes into the products rather than where a product comes from or who makes it, it is nonetheless a step in the right direction. On top of this, the most important aspect of sustainable goods is the initial conscientiousness that leads to consumers choosing to shop responsibly. Shoppers being mindful of what goes into products they buy is the first step to creating change within consumer targeted businesses. Hopefully Target and Walmart’s emphasis on sustainable products will cause other big name retailers to join the trend.
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Source: Harvard Business Review