Today’s customers are increasingly concerned about the environment and their impact on it. Shoppers are looking to reduce the harm they cause to the environment and want to buy from companies that reflect their values. For example, a shopper who brings their reusable bags on their weekly grocery run can save more than 100 plastic bags annually. This adds up when millions of consumers use reusable bags. 

Eco-consciousness has a significant impact on companies. Between 60-70% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products with sustainable packaging, which refers to materials that are recyclable, compostable, and less bulky than other options. Your brand can embrace this trend by investing in sustainable packaging, thus attracting more customers.

Learn more about the impact of sustainable mindsets on today’s consumers and how your organization can benefit from this trend.  

What Businesses Have To Gain from Sustainability

There are several reasons to invest in sustainability for your business. Here are a few ways you can save money while growing your sales — all while helping the environment. 

  • Attract new customers: Win over new eco-conscious shoppers with your efforts. 
  • Retain existing ones: Let buyers think highly of your brand because of your sustainability efforts. 
  • Reduce waste: Sustainability comes in a variety of forms. Cut down on the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and run your business more efficiently.  
  • Save money: Many sustainability practices are also economical. For example, investing in solar panels can reduce or eliminate your power bill. 
  • Build resilience: Prepare for crises with sustainable practices like solar investments. You can also strengthen your supply chain by working with eco-conscious vendors while keeping your previous contacts as backup options. 

Your business can also benefit from sustainable investments by showing your employees that you are doing good in the world. More than 40% of Gen Z and Millennial workers would change jobs because of climate concerns, so your sustainability efforts can support your recruitment and retention efforts.  

Assessing Consumer Expectations

If you aren’t sure whether sustainability is a core value for your customers, listen to your target audience and see what they think. 

Identify how they feel about climate change and the environment as a whole through surveys and feedback forms. Then ask about specific aspects of sustainability. While your audience might be aware that plastic packaging is worse for the environment than cardboard, they might not realize the carbon impact of shipping products across the globe. 

One important thing to remember with your sustainability practices is to be authentic and transparent. Consumers are increasingly sensitive to greenwashing, where companies pretend to care about the environment without actually taking action to protect it. 

Sustainability as a Competitive Advantage

Investing in sustainability is a way to stand out amongst your competitors. Customers can feel good when purchasing your products, boosting their overall loyalty, while your staff will know that their employer cares about the environment. 

If you want to build your brand around sustainable practices, be a leader. Look for innovative solutions for your business operations rather than chasing other eco-conscious trends in the existing market. Consumers want something they’ve never seen before, like yoga mats made from recycled wetsuits.  

Reducing Waste and Minimizing Environmental Impact

There are multiple ways to invest in sustainability within your organization, which means you can reduce your carbon footprint in ways that make sense for your business. Here are a few options for reducing waste and minimizing your impact on the planet. 

  • Adopt paperless best practices: Reduce the amount of paper you use so you don’t have to recycle as much each year. 
  • Improve your delivery routes and supply chain: Optimize your fleet to focus on energy-efficient routes, which will conserve gas and save your company money. 
  • Look into solar panels: Harness clean energy and reduce your dependency on fossil fuels. This also cuts your electric bill. 
  • Make recyclable products: Encourage customers to compost or recycle your packaging and materials because they are sustainably made.
  • Enable remote work: Remote employees produce fewer carbon emissions because they aren’t commuting and use less energy by staying out of the office.  

A service-based company might benefit from going paperless and remote, while a manufacturing firm can invest in better product packaging and put solar panels on its facilities. Each company can contribute in its own way. 

Streamlining Internal Operations for Efficiency

Product and service-based businesses alike can take steps to make their operations more sustainable. Almost any industry from accounting to lawn care can invest in software tools like paperless customer management, which is easier for customers and more secure. This also makes bookkeeping easier because you don’t have to manually record each transaction.  

The main thing to remember is that small changes add up. Switching to same-side-of-the-street routing can both save time and cut down on gas consumption, making your company more efficient in its overall operations. One change can have ripple effects throughout your business. 

As you make these internal changes, train your employees and take time to get their buy-in on the new practices. This will help you see the results of your sustainability practices faster.  

Sustainable Packaging and Product Design

There are multiple ways to improve your packaging to make it more sustainable. For example, even if you can’t eliminate your plastic packaging, you can move away from the much-hated clamshell design that uses an excessive amount of plastic that isn’t recyclable. You can reduce your impact before you identify ways to use better materials.

If you already use recyclable packaging, look for additional options. Transition to biodegradable models, packaging made from plastic bottles pulled from the ocean, or seed paper boxes that customers can use to create wildflower gardens for the bees.  

Redesigning your products for sustainability will come with complications. You need to balance durability and branding with your environmental goals. Test different options to see what works for you. 

Actionable Advice for Businesses

As you explore different sustainability efforts, develop a plan for adopting various practices and investing in your top options. For example, you might focus on one sustainability project each quarter and sort your efforts based on the most feasible options or the investments that would have the biggest impacts. 

Set trackable goals to see how your changes make a difference and invest in the right project management tools to make these ideas happen. This way you can see what a significant effect these changes have on the environment in just a year, five years, ten years, and beyond. 

Engaging with Consumers on Sustainability

Once you have a sustainability plan in place, brag about it! Build your sustainability efforts into your marketing plans to let people know about the good work you’re doing. You can even redesign your packaging to showcase the new materials you have invested in. The more people know about your eco-conscious changes, the more customers you can win over. 

These marketing efforts also serve as an opportunity for feedback. See what consumers think about your changes and listen to their ideas for how you can improve next. There are always new opportunities to help the environment. 

Any company can be more sustainable. Win over customers by looking for new ways to consume less and improve your operations for the greener good.


Alex is a Product Marketing Manager that enjoys using his background in the trades to help small businesses succeed. When he's not finding new customers for WorkWave, Alex is out finding adventure in the mountains of Colorado with his wife and dogs.