At the end of each year, as it is well known, the trends of the new year are written and listed. Similar lists have started to appear regarding the ‘hype’ of the year, sustainability. Let me tell you in the beginning: 2022 will -hopefully- be the year of eco-consumerism.
I am one of those who find it dangerous to rank sustainability issues as a trend. When a subject is handled as a trend, the state of being ‘temporary’ sticks to it. However, for a sustainable healthy future, it seems like a more valid approach to talk about permanent transformations and changes, rather than conceptual trends.
Studies reveal that climate and environmental issues have become a matter of the majority of society, not just a limited group. Why? Clearly, because the negative effects of these problems have now come to the backyard of all of us. This is a very important threshold for action.
According to Future Bright‘s research, 77% of the society in Turkey sees global warming and climate change as the country’s top priority problem. Even education and income inequality lag behind this. Isn’t it surprising?
From consuming-all to eco-consumerism
Being backed with this high awareness, the need now is to provide platforms for what can be done on an individual level. Thus changing and transforming some habits quickly. Recognizing that individual action is the most striking solution, and making efforts to develop in this direction with all institutions and organizations…
People are now more sensitive about eco-living and eco-consumption. Moreover, this is not just about the preferences they show as consumers. They are pushing the brands to act so. Globally, 93 percent of consumers expect brands to take action on local, social and environmental issues.
There are even those that go beyond demand. An activist investment platform in the UK offers consumers a stunning opportunity to force big companies to change. Users buy shares of companies like Coca-Cola, Apple and Amazon from Tulipshare. These shares are then combined until the platform reaches the level required to qualify as a shareholder of the company (equivalent to around 21,000 euros in equity in the US). In this way, the platform hopes that small investors can have their voices heard so that they can put pressure on companies on ESG issues.
Eco-activists, as well as eco-artists, are not idle on this issue. A carbon-neutral NFT platform that helps incentivize young artists offers an alternative to carbon-scattering crypto platforms. Voice users can print NFTs for free. Buyers can also purchase creations with a standard credit card. This is a 65,000 times more energy efficient process than Bitcoin and 17,000 times more than Ethereum. What makes the platform environmentally competitive is that it is powered by Delegated Proof of Stake, a blockchain network that requires fewer resources and is designed to be sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Lifesaver: Technology and innovation
Technology and innovation are critical on this path. Some technologies and initiatives that do not exist today or are only in the experimental stage will enable us to find much faster and more efficient solutions to today’s problems tomorrow.
A logistics startup in Singapore is using AI-powered predictive analytics to reduce emissions by shortening journeys. Portcast collects shipping data from multiple sources to monitor cargo movements, wind and weather elements, and pandemic-related issues to predict where shipments may encounter difficulties. The company claims it can track more than 90 percent of world ocean trade, 35 percent of air cargo, and forecast demand for 30,000 global trade routes. Isn’t it pretentious?
A precious market opportunity: Eco-consumerism
If we look at the issue from a marketing perspective, eco-consumerism can also be seen as a market opportunity. Because there is a mass of consumers who are after sustainable products and are willing to pay more for it. Their numbers are increasing day by day. Therefore, an encouraging win-win relationship for the marketing world can greatly affect the speed and efficiency of the transformation in this field.
Consider, for example, eco-marketplaces that are to be created to support conscious and rational consumption. Here, imagine a collection of goods from brands that feature low-impact ingredients, eco-friendly packaging, a low carbon footprint, and a commitment to social good. At the same time, imagine a platform where consumers can see the positive effects of their choices transparently. Wouldn’t it be great for consumers to see the effect of their preferences concretely and to have the opportunity to follow them on a long time? Doesn’t it also encourage them to make smarter choices each and every time?
The key to sustainability: Marketing, communications and innovation
Let me repeat once again what I believe. The key to sustainability issues is in the world of marketing, communication and innovation. While production models are being reviewed and transformed, changes in consumption models should also come to the fore with the mechanisms established around insights and new technologies on the consumer side. Only if this happens, social and environmental development and transformation can be achieved along with economic growth.
We started with the trend, so let’s finish with it. If you persistently ask what will be the next year’s trend in the sustainability agenda, I would definitely say ‘individual action and transformation’ namely eco-consumerism.