By FintechOS · July 14, 2022
7 minute read

Consumers seek brands committed to sustainability

Consumers seek brands committed to sustainability - set sustainable business goals

Sustainability is the key to winning over a new generation of ethically-minded consumers. We look at what you can do to set sustainable development goals for your business.

Are you proud of your brand, your products, and the services you provide? Do you receive minimal negative feedback and feel positive about the future of your business? If so, don’t get complacent – you might be on the verge of falling behind. 

It’s no longer good enough for brands to provide a good product or service at an affordable price. The days of satisfying customers by simply checking their boxes of straightforward needs are long gone. No – today’s consumer is empowered, with high expectations and discerning purchasing habits. Brands must set sustainable development goals to meet these high expectations when working to attract and retain customers on multiple levels. 

Products must be of excellent value, service must be prompt and friendly, marketing tactics must be clever if not avant-garde and groundbreaking, and finally, consumers expect brands to care about their environmental impact. Why? Because consumers themselves care about sustainability and environmental consciousness more than ever before.

One of the biggest mistakes financial services providers can make is thinking they are separate from the sustainability issue. Just because they don’t manufacture physical products doesn’t leave them exempt from working in a sustainable way. 

Sustainability – what does that look like?

Sustainability is a way of life now, for individuals and for brands. Organizations can offer options to their employees that make positive impacts and can choose solar-powered office buildings and low-emission vehicles for employee transport. The very way that decisions are made can be labeled sustainable or unethical, as well as the types of investments favored by your organization and especially the charities you choose to support or partner with. 

The financial services industry is doing very real and exciting things to make its mark and leave the world a better place. Insurance brand Generali Group offers a number of products that promote social and environmental betterment. They offer products that help to supplement public health services, so that customers can better manage the costs of healthcare, as well as products that support ongoing healthy and active lifestyles. Environmentally, Generali Group offers products that support sustainable transport, energy-efficient buildings, and renewable energy.

The need for, and rise of, finance is very real and the possibilities for providers to focus on green initiatives are endless. From bank accounts that analyze user spending and highlight their carbon footprint, to credit cards that reward users for contributions towards sustainability, the future of sustainable finance is here. 

Understanding consumer behaviors

In 2021, Deloitte carried out a consumer sustainability report. These findings are crucial in shedding light on the values of customers concerning sustainability issues and values. The report highlights that sustainability is a huge concern for consumers, with 32% of those surveyed stating that they were highly engaged with pursuing a more sustainable lifestyle. 

A key point that businesses need to pay serious attention to is that 28% of consumers have stopped purchasing certain products due to ethical or environmental concerns. The report also reveals that consumers want to do more to make a positive impact, but they want brands to take the lead. Specifically, 64% of those surveyed want to see a reduction in packaging, 50% want to know how to responsibly recycle products,I and 46% are after clarity on sourcing products. 

If you’re not sure where to start, the survey found that the five areas of brand sustainability practices most important to consumers are:

  1. waste reduction
  2. reducing carbon footprint
  3. sustainable packaging
  4. ethical work practices
  5. respecting human rights

The fact that consumers want to be led by brands provides an untapped opportunity to break new ground. Imagine the impact that could be made, and the number of customers gained and retained, if your brand introduced exciting new sustainability initiatives.

Aligning your values with sustainable development goals

Our world is smaller than it has ever been. Information is available instantly and the latest news, trends, facts, and movements are constantly at our fingertips. There is no hiding and, for this reason, brands must set sustainable development goals in order to impress customers. 

The average consumer wants to support brands whose values are aligned with their own. People today are more complex than ever before and define themselves in many ways. Vegetarian, vegan, LGTBQ, young, elderly, disabled, ethnic minority, environmental activist, political enthusiast… – the list goes on, and most people want to support brands that care about the issues they do. 

10 years ago, a brand could announce it was going paperless in an effort to be more green and this was met with nods of approval and applause. Today, if this is a brand’s only effort towards making the world a better place, they’re more than a bit behind; they’re in danger.

Consumers believe in sustainability

Present-day consumers enjoy feeling that their actions make a difference in the world, and furthermore, they believe that their actions make a real difference to the causes that are important to them. In a study carried out by Futerra, 96% of participants voiced that they believe their own actions – like recycling, ethical purchases, and donating – will help make a difference. 

Like Deloitte’s survey, this study also found that consumers want to see brands taking the lead and setting an example: 88% of participants stated that they wanted brands to help them live more environmentally friendly and ethical lifestyles. 

This is a unique situation. People are eager to make a difference, and have perhaps grown weary of finding ways to make positive changes to their lifestyle so that they can leave the world a better place – or at the very least, not make things worse. Consumers are overwhelmed with choices, each product has multiple competitors, and trying to weed out the brands that make unethical or unsustainable choices is tiresome to customers. They are eager to know that brands everywhere have the same values and are making responsible decisions for the environment and humanity as a whole. 

The visibility of social media and the influencer generation

Brands across all industries are making genuine efforts to embrace sustainable approaches, and they’re shouting about it. Influencer marketing has played a key role in the rise of sustainability. Influencers are savvy with their marketing decisions, the most respected with the highest number of followers won’t work with just anyone. Working hard to curate a polished image, influencers want to partner with brands that not only align with their values, but that also shed a positive light on them in the eyes of their followers who can be quick to judge.

Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the buying power of an influencer’s loyal following. According to Twitter, almost 40% of platform users have made a purchase as a direct result of an influencer’s tweet and 49% rely on recommendations from influencers on the platform.

There’s one last final note to consider. Whether or not your data is managed ethically is another way the sustainability of your brand can also come into question, and that’s where FintechOS comes in. Are you ready to begin creating personalized and ethical digital experiences for your customers?

Find out more about what we’re doing to support sustainability, see our About Us page

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