THE DAILY SCOPE, 12/10/21: With the uptick in consumer consciousness towards sustainability, brands are following suit and deploying marketing strategies that emphasize their commitment to the environment. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have tackled this demand through a number of tactics mainly displayed through sustainable manufacturing and buy-back programs. But, it’s hard for customers to tell whether a company is truly serious about sustainability or if it’s purely a marketing scheme, which is where green storefronts come in. As Brin Snelling writes in Forbes, there is no better way for a DTC brand to visibly display to consumers its commitment to sustainability than by employing green storefronts. At the moment, buildings and their construction contribute to 37 percent of worldwide CO2 emissions according to the UN’s 2021 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction.
Brands have immense agency over the construction of their space, and, as a result, they have the ability to implement sustainable building initiatives. The LEED Platinum-Certified Google store in NYC is a great example of how brands can use their spaces to emphasize their commitment to sustainable principles. The store features flooring made from recycled water bottles, plumbing that conserves water, and walls made out of ethically harvested hickory. This not only good for the environment; it’s also effective experiential marketing.
A new study published by HSBC and BCG (Boston Consulting Group) found that it will take around $100 trillion of investment for global supply chains to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, with over half of the required funds needing to come from small and medium-sized businesses. Enter Walmart’s Sustainable Supply Chain Finance program, which seeks to connect small and medium-sized (Walmart-connected) suppliers with financing for sustainability operations. To get access to the financing program, retailers need to establish science-based targets to be validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative, a joint venture between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute, and the World Wide Fund for Nature or meet score thresholds on their CDP climate change reports. The financing program is also part of Walmart’s Project Gigaton initiative, which aims to reduce 1 gigaton of CO2 emissions from its supply chain by 2030. Suppliers that tackle one of the six areas highlighted by Project Gigaton -energy, waste, nature, packaging, transportation, and product use- are eligible for improved financing from HSBC.
Lastly, tech is in a position to help reduce barriers of entry to low-income Americans looking to utilize government welfare programs, which are in dire need of streamlining. In today’s day and age, there are apps that exist to fulfill almost any consumer need from transportation to grocery shopping. Thus, it only makes sense that apps be developed to help ease the stresses that millions of Americans face in trying to obtain government benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). One example is Code for America, a non-profit group that devised an online portal to reduce the time it takes for California residents to apply for food stamps by 75 percent. Another example is Propel, a free app used by five million households, which offers users a platform to manage their food stamp benefits. In the age of the internet, there is no longer a need for families to wait in line for hours to get access to government-supplied welfare programs. Technology has the potential to streamline welfare services and help low-income families cut through time-consuming bureaucratic red tape. This trend is only just beginning, but there is no reason that it should not become a nationwide phenomenon.
Speaking of zero-emission storefronts, the metaverse just may be the next generation of green retail. With zero physical footprint, retailers on metaverse platforms, such as the newly released Horizon World from Meta, would be able to take products directly from factory to consumer; thus, eliminating the need for storefronts all together.
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