Unless you have been hiding under a rock you will be highly aware of the recent impact of the extinction rebelling and the ‘Greta Effect’. These movements are highly reflective of changing consumer sentiments towards the brands and businesses they choose to purchase from.
Going forward ‘Sustainability’ will no longer be pushed back to the realms of businesses CSR teams, nor an area where you can pick and choose where and when to be ‘sustainable’. Sustainability will increasingly become the core tenant on which businesses prosper and survive. From working conditions in factories, to supply chain models, right through to how products are sourced, marketed and ultimately delivered will all be scrutinised for their sustainability credentials.
It is therefore understandable that there was a social media backlash earlier last week against Karl-Johan Persson, H&M’s CEO, who claimed that we needed to stop ‘consumer shaming’. The fast fashion industry relies on consumers constantly demanding ‘newness’, so it is no wonder this statement was highly controversial when the fashion industry produces 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, has often led to poor working conditions in developing countries and counters the UN’s 17 Sustainable Goals – number 12 aimed at responsible consumption and production. This comes at a time when people are consuming 100% more than they did a decade ago with 100billion garments being produced last year for just 7billion people globally. What is clear is that Persson is out of step with current consumer sentiment and undermines H&Ms previous claims of working towards a more sustainable business.
On the other side of the spectrum, a number of the higher end, luxury brands have been making headlines with their sustainability propositions. Farfetch recently partnered with Thrift+ to encourage their customers to donate their clothing to charity in return for money off future purchases. Selfridges has also been experimenting with a number of initiatives including teaming up with Depop, a peer-to-peer second hand marketplace, in their London store projecting a message that ‘luxury is for life, not just a season’. Both these businesses are contributing to the debate around the importance of a circular economy, keeping product within the system rather than disposing of it to landfills.
Whilst we have largely highlighted fashion most retailers, as well as fashion players, are contributing to the climate crisis largely fuelled by consumer demand. The more that consumers demand ‘newness’, immediacy and increased convenience the more pressure this puts on retailers entire supply chains, often with adverse social and environmental effects. The reality is that corporates are still not doing enough. Beyond the headlines these initiatives are really only touching the surface of what needs to change. It is also our responsibility as consumers to really understand how our increasing expectations impact supply chains and ultimately the environment – do you really need your package the same day at any cost to the planet?
At Validify we having been working with a growing number of technology businesses that look at different areas of a retailer business and help towards more sustainable practices. Below highlights some of these businesses available on the platform.
Paack – Exciting end to end delivery solution enabling hourly time-slot delivery options which increase first time delivery success from the average 70% to 96%, all delivered by their own fleet network including an increasing array of electric bikes and vans! https://access.validify.co.uk/vendor/Paack_Logistics/Solution
Urb-it – Sustainable same-day delivery experience for customers and retailers in London, Paris and Stockholm, hand delivered by a team using only public transport https://access.validify.co.uk/vendor/Urb-it/Solution
INTURN – Excess inventory is a challenge for many retailers and current methods of disposal are very inefficient. INTURN provide a globally integrated secondary marketplace for goods, resulting in improved margins and minimising waste. https://access.validify.co.uk/vendor/INTURN/Solution