It’s perhaps one of the most significant trends in the product and service industry of our lifetime: the rise in sustainability. But, what does the future hold for this trend of environmentally-conscious and energy-efficient products? Will we see a continuation in the inclusion of sustainability as not just a luxury, but an absolute necessity for what we purchase?
Today, we’re going to dive into the future of sustainability in our food, products, and our homes.
Sustainability is ‘in’ These Days… But How Did We Get Here?
In 1994, John Elkington coined the term “triple bottom line,” which ushered in a new way of thinking about the stakeholders of a business. The term helped establish the environmental, social, and economic value as the main considerations a business should look at in order to become sustainable. In other words, profits, people, and the planet should be factored into each decision a business makes.
Some of the pioneers of sustainable companies include Patagonia, Whole Foods, Toms, and Lush Cosmetics, where each of these companies takes stock in all three bottom lines when making decisions.
While there were companies before them that practiced similar philosophies, these businesses were able to tap into the growing appreciation among consumers for “green” products. In other words, they were able to effectively market themselves as a sustainable option when compared to their competitors.
Recently, we’ve been seeing more and more companies try and position themselves as sustainable. The reason? Well, consumers are just starting to care more. Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that there is more information out there on the state of our planet currently in regard to our resources and climate change, as well as the fact that many millennials, who are becoming a larger portion of buyers in the marketplace as more and more graduate from college and secure jobs, care deeply about sustainability in the products they consume.
According to Inc, 73% of millennials would spend more on a product if it came from a sustainable brand. Not only do millennials want sustainable products, but they are willing to spend more for them!
Futerra recently did another study and found that 88% of consumers surveyed said that they would like brands to help them be more environmentally friendly and ethical in their daily life.
That’s the kicker. In their day-to-day life, consumers want to be more sustainable. No longer is it just the clothes they buy or the food they eat, but also the cars they drive, the houses they live in and even the companies they work for.
That brings us to today and the future of sustainable living.
The Future of Sustainability
Sustainability isn’t going anywhere. In fact, its reach is continuing to increase. And the reason being is simple. Consumers are just more aware of how their decisions impact those around them. A positive example of this is Toms, who promised that for every pair of shoes bought, a pair would be donated, which certainly is a factor in their success as a brand.
A negative example is the Nike sweatshop scandal, where they saw sales decline due because people didn’t want to support a business whose business was not run ethically.
We are seeing more and more companies try and brand themselves as sustainable, ethical companies. Companies like Gillette, which recently tried their hand at giving their input on a social issue, revolved around the #MeToo movement. While they received some immediate blow-back, later polling found that most consumers thought the ad was good. Whether Gillette decided to touch on this social issue as a means of making a profit or making a positive impact on the world, we don’t know. But the fact of the matter, brands that portray themselves as they can work with all three stakeholders are getting more buzz and increasing the positive perception of their brand.
Sustainability will continue to spread amongst these consumer products, with grocery stores and food brands, shoe companies, and now razor companies all attempting to get into the sustainable game – whether it’s through environmental or social issues.
The next big leap came with cars, with the rise in Teslas and Priuses. People that drive cars every day to work wanted to make sure that they were reducing the environmental impact on their commute. There is no doubt that we will continue to see more and more automakers push toward creating eco-friendly vehicles.
Next up: The homes we live in. At Sustainable 9, we noticed early on that sustainability was a trend that was continuing to grow not only in size, but in popularity. More consumers wanted it, and more brands were offering it.
There is a large market out there of people who are willing to spend more on the initial creation of their home, but in the long term save money on energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint as well. That’s why our goal at Sustainable 9 isn’t just to build our client’s homes that are unique to their style preferences and look great, but also to help them limit their impact on the planet.
While knowledge of sustainable home features has increased over time, many new, potential homebuyers aren’t fully aware of just how much detail and materials you can put into a home to make it truly environmentally friendly. That’s why another one of our goals is to help build a stronger awareness among those looking to build a new custom home or to even just implement new sustainable features into existing homes.
The great thing about modern homes is they lend themselves perfectly to sustainable features that can integrate seamlessly into the home while still maintaining the design and integrity of the house. That’s why we knew that when we wanted to create sustainable homes, those modern designs were the perfect direction to take S9.
We hope that other home builders will follow suit in ensuring that their homes are up to the sustainable standards that have been put forth, like the Home Energy Rating System index.
If you’re interested in creating your new forever home here in Minnesota and want to team up with us to create it, then give us a call today at (612) 540-0871 and take a look at some of our recently completed projects!
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