Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Consumer Awareness Driving Corporate Sustainability in 2013

Companies can anticipate that growing consumer awareness about the environment will continue to drive sustainability in 2013 and beyond. The American economy appears to be inching slowly in a positive direction and a spate of extreme weather events over the last couple of years is contributing to consumer's burgeoning environmental awareness. Increasingly consumers are looking beyond the barcode to help them make their purchasing decisions. Businesses need to respond to consumer demand to gain customers and avoid losing their market share. Here are three consumer driven sustainability trends for 2013:

Supply Chains

Buyers are increasingly asking suppliers to measure their environmental impacts and carbon emissions in their value chain. In many cases failure to provide such information, or performing poorly can undermine these business relationships.

Environmental Impacts

A short time ago consumers were not only oblivious to the notion of a carbon footprint, they were frankly disinterested. Now many consumers not only understand the concept of environmental impacts they are demanding that businesses act to make their operations more sustainable. Consumers can increasingly be expected to seek out products and services with smaller footprints. This can include obvious issues like packaging or less obvious impacts such as those associated with manufacturing processes.

Reporting and Transparency

There is a growing demand from consumers and investors to have access to more environmental impact information. Some stock exchanges already request this information and consumers and stockholders want to see annual sustainability impacts. Transparency also has the additional benefit of forging employee loyalty and attracting talented human resources.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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