As sustainability continues as a top trend in the retail industry, retailers and brands are adapting to stay relevant and offer sustainable solutions to their consumers. Customers are taking note: 93% of global consumers expect more of the brands they use to support local social and environmental issues, according to a report by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). The report also found that an estimated 68 million adult Americans base purchasing decisions on their values – personal, social, and environmental – and say they will spend up to 20% more on environmentally sound products.
A survey published by Element Three and SMARI supported that same idea: sustainability was a product attribute that 87% of US Millennial internet users would be willing to pay more for. Consumers are aligning what they’re buying with their lifestyle. They’re willing to spend more to know that the items they’re purchasing are environmentally sound. They’re looking for products with clear brand messaging – products that clearly deliver sustainability attributes and meet their social and environmental standards.
Retailers and brands of all sizes can take steps to become more sustainable by implementing green initiatives. In retail it’s key to keep a forward-thinking approach. Technology is helping retailers reduce their carbon footprint, identify trends and utilize predictive analytics to create products the customer wants. Embracing technology like digital product testing, barcode scanners and cloud-based warehouse management helps reduce waste and leads retailers down a more sustainable path. And, there’s a whole new side of sustainability that retailers are starting to develop.
Enter the newest sustainability trend within the retail industry: upcycling. Upcycling is reusing discarded objects or materials to create a product of higher quality or perceived value than the original. Upcycling reduces cloth and textile waste by reusing deadstock or gently used fabric to create new garments and products.