Insights & Trends

Sustainability as a consumer

4 min read

What is sustainability?

Sustainability within the business world refers to completing operations without negatively impacting the environment, society, or community as a whole.

But what does this even mean?

Essentially, ethics and values come into place here, showing the integrity of a business and how it wants to impact the world around them. Here, their personality and ethos can become apparent, giving consumers an insight into how they operate, what they do to help the environment and surrounding the communities.

As consumers, we have shown a common interest and concern towards the sustainability of businesses in recent years. We particularly focus on the recyclability of the packaging, fair pay for workers, low energy use and low carbon dioxide emissions during production and shipping (Hanss & Bohm, 2011 ). Most of these issues, if not addressed, can result in the increase of greenhouse gasses and thus an overall increase in climate change. This can become apparent through more extreme weather, rising sea levels, warming oceans and destruction of eco-systems. Although there are many more disastrous effects, of which 93% of us are aware of, yet only a small 25% of the UK worry about this… (Phillips, Curtice, Phillips, & Perry, 2018).

A meme of globe surrounded by flame saying "this is not fine"
And we agree

DO YOU!?

Climate change is real, and we should all be questioning how this will affect us…why we should care…and what we can do to make a difference. Businesses have a particular responsibility to act in a sensible way and inform their consumers of ways in which they try to reduce their negative impacts. Most businesses, therefore, make their social corporate responsibilities, values, and personality clear through their actions, sites, and overall presence on social media.

But what can we as consumers be doing to keep this pressure on them to act sustainably?

Obama GIF saying "There's no plan B"

But, I’m Just a Consumer?

Consumers have more power as a stakeholder than they may initially think. Typically, businesses aim to please their consumers to drive sales, maintain a good relationship and therefore uphold a good reputation. All of this accumulated together helps build their brand and its image and their perceived sustainability is a market driver of growth and innovation. This is a huge advantage as it allows consumers to PRESSURE the companies into adopting new principles.

GIF saying "I feel powerful"

For example, the home retailer B&Q changed 16,000 products in its stores to sell only Forest Friendly products. Selfridges now sells only sustainably sourced fish as part of Project Ocean, a high-profile campaign involving partners, in-store events, online media, and celebrities. M&S has partnered with Oxfam to enable clothe exchanges, which enables people to return an M&S item to Oxfam and receive a discount voucher for M&S. All these changes were implemented due to the changing attitudes of customers; to be successful, the customer’s needs must be recognised.

Well, What Do We Do?

At Carryr we recognise and appreciate the detrimental impacts that business operations can cause to the world around us. That is why we pride ourselves on using emission-free transportation to deliver your orders straight to your door.

By doing so we can help reduce thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions for partnered retailers, the local communities and the environment around us. Not only this but by operating this way we are travelling shorter distances, reducing the time our riders are spending on the road.

This helps reduce traffic around the areas we operate and ensure a speedy delivery.

Additionally, working with local stores is not only helping the local community and economy, but it provides job opportunities to those who need a flexible role that gives great benefits – good wage, better fitness and health, socialisation, and a chance to be part of the Carryr family.

We are always listening to our customers and wanting to improve ourselves and develop as a company. We believe learning how to enter this more ‘circular economy’ will only ever benefit you and the world around us.

WE CAN ALL DO OUR PART TO SAVE THE EARTH.

GIF of someone recycling waste in the ocean

Whether that be by reducing plastic consumption, reducing fuel-driven means of transportation, or merely applying pressure to the companies we see that need to do better. Slowly but surely, we can all make a difference.

This is only the beginning of Carryr’s steps towards creating a better world.

As consumers, you can also do your part. Here are some ideas to help motivate and inspire you to make a difference:

1. RESEARCH before you buy – do your research into the operations of firms if essential. Choose those who have clear sustainability goals that acknowledge how they can help their surrounding environment.

2. CONTACT firms – if you don’t see a section of values and goals that addresses their sustainability, CONTACT them and try to find out more.

3. PRESSURE those that are underperforming – if you’re not satisfied with the commitment of your favourite firms put pressure on them to change their ways – on social media, emails, however, you see fit!!!

4. RECYCLE when needed – if something you receive uses plastic packaging, ensure to recycle properly to ensure it doesn’t end up in landfills.

5. REUSE – continuous purchases of similar products are unnecessary and emit more energy than is needed. Reuse those items that you can – the smallest changes will help.

Together, we can make a better world.

Until next time, Maddy 👋

Resources

Guardian, T. (2020). Consumers put firms under pressure to lead the way in sustainable living. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/consumer-behaviour-companies-sustainable-living

Hanss, D., & Bohm, G. (2011 ). Sustainability is seen from the perspective of consumers. International journal of consumer studies.

Phillips, D., Curtice, J., Phillips, M., & Perry, J. (2018). British social attitudes; the 35th report, London. London: National Centre for Social Research.

Spiliakos, A. (2018, October). What is sustainability in business? Retrieved from Harvard Business School Online: https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/what-is-sustainability-in-business

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