It is widely known that purpose–led brands outperform competitors. Today, consumers make purchasing decisions based on companies that identify with their values and beliefs. Meaningful relationships, founded on a sense of belonging shift customer dialogue from “give me what I want” to “support the ideals we believe in”. When a company takes a genuine approach to establish its purpose, it takes a step in the right direction towards becoming one that can sustain growth through dynamic market conditions. They can continually and quickly adapt to changing conditions, with an overarching purpose guiding decision making.
A Growing Demand for Sustainability
Luxury goods are synonymous with long life spans and durability. However, this is often tarnished with secrecy surrounding processes, procurement and waste during production. In 2019, Burberry revealed the destruction of more than £100 million worth of unsold products over the past 5 years. This has lead consumers calling for more transparency and open communication.
With Millennials and Generation Z making up 85% of the global luxury sales growth, brands need to align their values to society and seek to communicate their core identity and behaviour. The new group of consumers are socially and environmentally conscious about their purchasing decisions and are more likely to purchase from brands that resonate with their own personal values.
Adapting to A New Way of Living
Luxury retailers are adapting to the change in attitudes towards sustainability in numerous ways. According to Selfridges, over 60% of its existing customers desire to shop sustainably, while the social and environmental impact of a purchase was found to be important for 84%. For that reason, Selfridges launched Project Earth in the hopes of engaging its ethical consumers. It has introduced second-hand fashion shop, clothing rental, beauty pack recycling and a service for product repairs as part of its five-year sustainability plan.
With an estimated £140 million worth of clothes going to landfills each year, and a staggering £30 billion worth of unused clothing still sitting in wardrobes nationwide, consumers interest in upcycling is growing. Royal Warrant Holder Lyle & Scott are looking to offer a repair/recycle service to consumers for pre-loved products to improve and lengthen the life span of goods, and in turn, reduce the amount of landfill created by pre-loved garments.
Authenticity, Accountability and Transparency
Authenticity and transparency are crucial to establishing whether an organisation genuinely implements sustainability and environmental-friendly models into their practice from the ground up. An organisation must live and breathe their mission. It must become an extension of its strategy and the guiding belief for all decisions. For example, award winning design studio and Planet Mark holder Winch Design was founded on the purpose to fulfil their clients’ dreams, employee’s ambitions, and communities’ needs, in a way that consistently improves lives and protects the environment. Winch has one foot in design and the other in social responsibility, from protecting acres of rainforest, investing in innovative materials, to being transparent about supply chains and reduction in carbon emissions.
With eco-friendly luxury practices embedded into its organisations core identity, editorial and communication have a subtle tone and authentic narrative. Winch Design recently launched its Life Worth Living Plan detailing their full sustainability commitments and 2024 targets to conserve and protect the planet. The website publishes their supporting charitable organisations, the numerous SDG goals it contributes to, sustainability pledges and certification for public view. Displaying these measurements and commitments forces organisations to move from promises to tangible actions. But Winch Design is also transparent about their limitations and hold themselves accountable by way of external audits and third-party credentials.
The Value of Certification
Certification is a key signal for consumers that want to buy more responsibly. By measuring and assessing against robust criteria it gives consumers reassurance and provides organisations with an understanding of truth; where a company is; where it wants to go and how to get there. It helps highlight weaknesses and ultimately create ambitious targets that improve environmental, social, and economic contributions.
At The Planet Mark we see a world where we all contribute to a thriving planet and together, we will make a world of difference. We can help your organisation identify its purpose, and empower your employees to live and breathe it at every level. Join us today, commit your organisation to the Decade of Action and put sustainability at the heart of your brand.