The concept of the “green brand” was something associated with a handful of maverick companies not so long ago. But changing consumer attitudes, along with a realisation of the scale of the environmental and social problems we face, is putting pressure on companies to focus on sustainability as well as profits. With commercial water use far outstripping domestic use, improving and promoting water efficiency is one area where brands can be big drivers for change.
In recent times, there has been a definite shift towards brands adopting more sustainable business practices, or “green branding”. This can be seen in both the number of new start-up businesses that adopt sustainability or a social message as part of their core identity, as well as established companies reviewing and improving their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies. One of the main drivers for this has been a shift in consumer attitudes. Studies show that today’s consumers make their purchasing decisions based on a brand’s environmental and social ethos as well as factors such as satisfaction and value for money. Recent statistics include:
These changes are down in part to the growth of the Millennial market. Millennials place a higher emphasis on green branding, with 81% expecting brands to be socially conscious and 73% preferring to work for socially responsible companies. With $30 trillions of assets due to be transfered to Millennials in the coming decades, their influence and purchasing power is only expected to grow.
With more and more brands looking to improve their sustainability and CSR practices, there is an opportunity for businesses to look at how they use water and promote better water efficiency. Water conservation often gets overlooked in discussions on sustainability, where the focus tends to be on preservation of land and moving towards renewable forms of energy. But with global water shortages predicted as early as 2040, we are likely to hear more over the next few years about the importance of effectively managing and recycling our water supplies. Commercial use of water is high, accounting for around 90% of global consumption when industry and agriculture are combined, so there is good scope for brands to take a lead, be a force for change and promote themselves as socially responsible.
There are a number of strategies brands can adopt to promote better water use. These include:
Becoming more water sustainable as a business is a win-win, with many benefits and no real negatives. As well as contributing towards a more environmentally sustainable planet, brands can gain a competitive advantage by making themselves more appealing not just today’s consumers but also to employees and investors. When the reduced overhead costs of water efficiency are factored in, it can be seen that green branding is something with the potential for great return on investment (ROI). With that in mind, it should be a priority for forward-thinking businesses everywhere.More about BOSAQ CONSULTANCY