Renewable Choice Energy

Consumer Awareness Grows; Impacts 2013 Sustainability Trends

Consumer Sustainability AwarenessAs the economy begins to rebound—holiday spending was up 9.2 percent—and the impacts of climate-related weather events like Hurricane Sandy continue to reverberate throughout the affected regions, consumer awareness about the environment is on the rise. Companies can anticipate that this growing awareness will impact sustainability in 2013 and beyond.

What are the top three consumer-driven sustainability trends companies should pay attention to?

Greater Understanding of Environmental Impact

As little as five years ago, consumers were neither familiar nor comfortable with the concept of a “carbon footprint.” However, a growing understanding of the environmental impact of products means that consumers will continue to be savvier about how their purchases affect the planet. Expect consumers to look for products that have a reduced carbon footprint, reduced packaging, and take less water consumption to produce.

The Integration of Corporate Social Responsibility

Consumers (and investors) will be looking for companies to integrate their CSR practices with operations and financial reporting in order to drive real change. The expectation will be for companies to report their sustainability impacts annually, and companies can anticipate that their results will be widely shared via social media. Companies can also expect their commitments to environmental and social responsibility to impact their ability to hire and retain workers as the economy strengthens.

Increased Emphasis on the Greening of Supply Chains

Major advancements in supply chain efficiency in the past several years—including Walmart’s historic Sustainability Index and the introduction of the apparel and footwear industry’s Higg Index last year—will continue to drive change. Suppliers can expect to continue to be measured on their environmental impacts by their buyers, and companies can expect consumer demand for these reports to be made publicly available or publicly reported via entities like the Carbon Disclosure Project. Companies and their suppliers can also expect to be reviewing—and managing—carbon emissions within their value chain in an effort to improve the carbon profile of their products based on consumer demand.

At Renewable Choice, we’ve been helping companies measure, manage, and report their environmental impacts for more than a decade, and we specialize in working with companies and suppliers around the globe to help them design, implement, and share their social and environmental commitments. As you enter 2013, we invite you to learn more about what we do and how we help our clients develop cleaner, greener products and services.

Happy—and sustainable—new year!

Renewable Choice's Amy Haddon

Amy Haddon is Vice President of Communications for Renewable Choice. Follow Amy on Twitter @GetGoingGreen.