How does an annual festival of consumption, hurts us and our planet?
In the past few years, we have learned how our holiday shopping and annual festivals of consumption like Christmas sale, Black Friday, or even Lunar New Year gift-giving can and would have a negative impact on our ecosystem.
For instance, Black Friday is the embodiment of the overconsumption epidemic. People discard perfectly good items that go on to pollute the oceans and overwhelm the waste stream. The present consumer culture usually encourages waste that dangerously affects the environment.
Why it is important to address overconsumption via your brand platform?
Overconsumption is usually is encouraged with hard sell and misleading advertising. Hence, I believe we as marketers have a huge responsibility of crafting straightforward, simple messages for consumers that are functional and informational for everyone to understand in and out of the production process of a specific product.
Aside from improving how communications are done in advertising, every brand owner needs to consider, the consumers' change of buying behavior around environmentally friendly products. Based on a study by Forbes, 70% of companies report an increased consumer demand for environmentally-friendly solutions. In response to consumer demands, 87% of companies have participated in available demand response programs and 81% of businesses actively promote their environmental works.
So what is the solution and how can businesses create a meaningful impact on this societal issue of overconsumption?
Businesses will need to acknowledge that overproduction is encouraged by overconsumption and this is why this vicious cycle continues. We can break this cycle by:
- Gatekeeping the messages of the advertisements in the context of overconsumption and encouraging responsible consumption habits instead.
- Encourage the consumers to buy environment-friendly products by providing them with a range of products with the aim of lowering their carbon footprint.
- Building a culture around the brand on re-using, recycling, and repairing instead of buying new products.
If you are active in the CPG industry, setting such parameters for your brand can have a drastic positive impact on increasing your brand love; as we know, consumers engage with what you do when you do it authentically with full commitment. They relate to your brand more when you relate to the cause they support. And one of the most important causes for consumers these days is responsible consumption.
How can a consumer reduce their carbon footprint at home?
Every effort helps! From recycling your waste at home to using bio-degradable plastics can have a huge impact over time. But, here are some tips to consider when you as a consumer are buying something new:
- Always ask yourself, do I have to buy it? And only if the answer is yes, then proceed to purchase.
- If you are buying, try to buy second-hand items. (Where possible)
- If you are buying, try to buy locally.
- If you are buying, buy ethically.
Instead of wallowing in a surplus of consumerism, as a community, we have to encourage a circular economy, where items are purchased, used to their full extent, repaired if possible, and finally discarded at the end of their life. During the past few years, we have seen a great number of digital technologies surface helping this very act of a circular economy; second-hand marketplaces, car-sharing apps, and many more.
Digital technologies can help make our world a cleaner, better, and more livable environment. At the same time, it can threaten our privacy, erode security, and fuel inequality. However, just like any other technology, I believe that humanity is still in charge and has a choice to make in how to harness the new technologies' power for the greater good of society.
At REISE all of our awareness activities aim towards creating brand love for our partners through topics such as responsible consumption. Let's Collaborate!