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Over the past decade, consumers have been increasingly conscious of the effects of climate change. This has led to more businesses thinking about their brand identity and aligning this to terms such as fully recyclable, eco-friendly and planet-friendly.

If your brand is not sustainable, with the shift in consumer buying behaviour you will lose out to competitors that do have sustainable brands.

What is a sustainable brand?

To have a sustainable brand a business needs to set their sights past just making a profit and concentrate on ethical impact, such as sustainable supply chains and environmental impact.  It is important to recognise that large corporate brands are focusing on sustainable branding, therefore to be part of their supply chain your business will also need to fit in with their core values.

Branding is the first thing customers see and this determines how they view your company. This is an area in which you can differentiate yourself and illustrate why a consumer should be spending their money with you.

People are no longer happy to buy a product solely based on price alone, consumers are much more aware of what their favourite brands are doing and they are willing to remain loyal to brands that are aligned to their own values. Generation Z is set to continue this trend in sustainable consumerism and is more outspoken on the issues the planet faces than previous generations. Therefore, it will come as no surprise to you that sustainable branding is here to stay.

“In case you hadn’t noticed, the world is on fire.” Greta Thunberg, World Economic Forum in Davos.

How can I make my brand more sustainable?

If you would like to make your brand more sustainable, but are not sure where to start, do not panic.

Firstly, you could look at the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals which has 17 targets that are designed to improve the world we all share, such as: avoid wasting water, creating job opportunities for young people, donating what you don’t use, etc. By aligning your brand to these pledges, you will have a greater positive impact on sustainability.   

If you are a business that sells products, then think about the packaging you are using. The UK Plastics Pact is helping businesses sign up to critical 2025 targets on recycling and single-use plastic. Join other leading retailers and help your business and your supply chain make the radical system change required to create a world where plastic is valued and doesn’t pollute the environment.

One of the most impactful ways to show you’re committed to being a sustainable brand is by donating a proportion of your profits to a cause that your customers care about. Whatever the percentage you donate the fact that your brand is putting sustainable impact before profit will make your customers feel good about using your products or services.

Learn from others and gain ideas and inspiration from brands such as Ikea, Unilever and Patagonia all of which are great examples of businesses that have embedded sustainability within their branding.

If you are at the beginning of your sustainability journey, we would love to have you join the next cohort of inspiring business leaders on our Sustainable Growth Bootcamp: Big Impact, Small Footprint in April.  

Emily Pegg
Business Engagement Manager