Look To The Future – Zagwear

Daniel Hill explains why eco merchandising is the future for product-based marketing

Sustainability and environmental impact are no longer niche subjects. From activist Greta Thunberg’s powerful speeches, to the rise of Extinction Rebellion, the issue is at the forefront of the global discourse.

For product marketers, this means that consumer awareness is rising fast and demand is increasing for products which help to save the planet. A more environmentally conscious approach is the future for bringing products to market.

This is seen from the rise of the eco-label, which improves customers’ ease when searching for eco-conscious products, to groundbreaking pledges from leading names such as PepsiCo, which aims to make 100% of its packaging recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025.

Product marketing agencies must take measures to ensure they are moving in the same direction as the rest of society. What should they be doing?

Meet consumer demands

For any product-based marketing campaign to be successful, it needs to target the needs of its consumer.

The switch to more sustainable choices in everything from lifestyle to products shows no signs of slowing. The consumer need is no longer just about what the product is, but its composition and the journey it takes to end up with the consumer.

Responsible brands

Much of a product’s success is now rooted in consumer understanding of where the product comes from, the effect its production has on the environment, and what happens to it at the end of its lifecycle.

Brands shouldn’t just turn to more eco-friendly products because that’s what their customers want. Of course, meeting consumer needs is a priority for all businesses in order to achieve a healthy return on investment. But moving to responsible production is also a matter of brand responsibility.

But how can your brand move with the market and continue to bring merchandise to the masses while helping to save the planet?

• Reassess the manufacturing process

• Minimise the supply chain to reduce your carbon footprint

• Reduce plastic packaging

• Boost consumer awareness though eco initiatives

• Alter product composition to reduce environmental impact

Eco-friendly products

Alerting clients to more sustainable products is one of the best ways a product marketing agency can make an impact. There has been a huge growth in more eco products in recent years, covering the whole range of product categories.

A growing number of promotional suppliers have introduced changes, such as incorporating production waste in their products. Although promotional giveaways are considered to have a short life, product, companies have taken steps to increase the product lifespan, as well as using renewable energy and focusing on product disposal.

Straw ban

To change their ways, companies have eradicated plastic straws, which are set to be banned completely throughout the UK as of April 2020. In England alone, it’s estimated that we use 4.7 billion plastic straws annually. Not only is the plastic material of traditional straws non-degradable, it’s also damaging to marine life.

Metal and paper straws are reusable and recyclable respectively, but they require a lengthy manufacturing process. Some brands and their product marketing agencies wanting to go one better are now turning to bamboo straws, which are both 100% natural and biodegradable.

Paper

We think of paper as one of the ‘good’ materials, after all it’s biodegradable, recyclable and reusable. But the production process, our excessive usage of it and incorrect disposal is damaging to the environment. Here’s how:

• It takes five litres of water to produce one piece of A4 paper

• 93% of paper comes from trees

• 50% of business waste is paper

• Paper accounts for 25% of landfill waste and 33% of municipal waste

Even in the digital era, demand for paper is expected to double before 2030. With each tree on average producing enough oxygen for three people, this increased demand could have a global effect on air quality.

As well as cutting back on paper usage, you could switch to recyclable paper is. From your product packaging to day-to-day office tasks, choosing to use recycled paper is a fast and straightforward way to become a brand which isn’t just environmentally conscious, but takes the action needed to initiate market-wide change.

Daniel Hill is senior account manager at Zagwear

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