Environmental sustainability is a competitive advantage

Environmental sustainability has always had a place in the mind of the consumer. It is becoming a more pertinent trend year-on-year and now it seems that it may have reached the tipping-point.

To elaborate on this notion, it has always been acknowledged that environmentally-sustainable behaviour has always been important. However, now it has genuine claims of being a competitive advantage for most brands. This is because consumers’ care and are showing it.

What do these consumers’ want? 

These consumers want to be at the forefront of making a difference. However, they want their favourite brands to come along for the ride with them. In return, they are offering the promise of longevity in consumer and brand relationship. This is gold for brands’ moving forward and offers them the aforementioned competitive advantage for this new wave.

Consumers’ want to trade their loyalty and their money for a connection with a brand with a higher purpose. For example, brands that have outlined their eco-prevention measures are experiencing success and a deeper connection with their audience. Woolworths South Africa is a perfect example to publically showcase their measures in place that prevent wastage and environmental damage of any kind.

What has the industry done in response? 

Additionally, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has also innovated in regards to their approach to sustainability. The JSE now measures brand against one another in terms of their general operations in regards to environmental, social, and economic contexts according to JSE (2018). It “requires particular focus given the planetary boundaries and the need to understand the impacts of any entity on society and the environment” (JSE, 2018).

Also, there is the eco-restoration where brands will use CSR and CSI initiatives that look to correct and learn from mistakes. This also promises success form the point of view that a brand is contributing to learning and further development.

About the author

Matthew is obsessed with the why. As a strategist he is never satisfied with accepting things on face-value - he wants a deeper understanding. This is driven by the love to learn and an appreciation for detail.