Brands Celebrate Earth Day With Sustainability Efforts
With Earth Day just having passed, this time of year marks the perfect opportunity for brands to show consumers that they are taking steps to limit their environmental impact. 47% of Americans surveyed in the 2019 Retail and Sustainability Survey stated that they would pay more for eco-friendly products. This is especially prevalent with Gen Z buyers, who ranked ethical business/manufacturing practices as their top factor when making purchases. Brands must work to revamp their strategy to align with their customers and drive brand loyalty.
Hosting experiences around Earth Day is becoming a popular outlet for brands. Many consumers look to participate in panels and events in their area to get involved and show support. Shopbop teamed up with Boyish Jeans recently to host a beach clean-up through The Xanadu Life in Los Angeles. Attendees included LA-based influencers such as Orion Carloto and Taylr Anne, along with team members from both brands. They were given commemorative totes as they spent the afternoon cleaning the beach. At the end, all of the trash was put together to showcase how much they were all able to pick up in their time. Followers were able to follow along as they learned about how much plastic is in the ocean and what they can do to reduce their impact. Brands participating in experiences like this are trying to position themselves as leaders in the conversation around environmental issues.
Major brands are taking this time of year to announce new products behind a new vision. Ralph Lauren is getting behind Earth Day this year with the release of the Earth Polo. A take on their signature shirt, it is made with thread composed of recycled plastic bottles. It takes an average of 12 plastic bottles to produce and no water to dye the polo, and it was produced in partnership with First Mile, an organization that works with businesses to leave a greener footprint by recycling their waste. Along with the release of this shirt, chief innovation officer David Lauren stated that “Ralph Lauren will commit to removing at least 170 million bottles from landfills and oceans by 2025.” This isn’t the first time that the company has used its classic polo to back different causes, but Executive Vice President Halide Alagöz says that the Earth Polo will symbolize its commitment to focus on larger sustainability issues over the next few years.
There are companies that have already dedicated themselves to eco-friendly practices, but continue to draw more attention to important topics around Earth Day. Many of their consumers follow them because they are interested in sustainable living, so brands can use their platform to educate them. Allbirds, a popular shoe brand known for its sustainable resource use, is releasing a collection of limited-edition shoes to raise awareness about climate-endangered birds. The shoes are modeled after their popular styles Wool Runner and Tree Runner, but will feature different color variations based on the birds. Proceeds will be donated to the Audubon Society, which aims to protect birds and their habitats in America. The release serves as a conversation starter on how our purchases affect the environment around us, pushing consumers to make greener choices.
The question of whether consumers truly care about a brand’s stance on sustainability is one of the past. Today, they expect companies to be as transparent as possible about how their products are made. Buyers want to be well-informed about the purchases they are making, and we predict that more and more brands will turn to environmentally conscious influencers to educate potential consumers on their missions and values. As more companies step up to work towards reducing their environmental impact, Earth Day will transform from a one-day support to a year-long effort.
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