When it comes to many businesses, the Triple Bottom Line is an important concept to become successful. The Triple Bottom Line is a business framework that incorporates people, planet, and profit, that creates a greater business value. Employees and customers want more from a company than just a product. Companies that focus on people, planet, and profit are well-rounded and are able to appeal to a strengthening call to action. This framework also includes Corporate Social Responsibility, benefiting both people and the planet.
More consumers are asking the who, what, where, when and how of the supply chain and manufacturing of clothing stores.
- Who is making the items?
- What is being used in the materials?
- Where are these materials sourced and where are they actually made?
- When and how fast will these pieces go out of style?
- How is this product affecting the environment and the workers?
According to Business Insider, in 2019, a survey from Hotwire found that 47% of users across the world had stopped shopping at a brand that violated their personal values, the environment being one of those values. Since then, that number has only risen, especially in the fashion industry. Every business should find a way to enhance the way they view the planet, and also how they can help people.
Here is a list of seven reasons why every retail brand should aim to be more sustainable.
- Improves brand image
- Brings in new customers
- Sustainability is not going away anytime soon
- You can start slowly and continue to improve
- Stay competitive with other brands
- It could save you money
- Lowers chances of buyer’s remorse
1. Improves brand image
As sustainability becomes more and more of a trend, people will be seeking out brands that outwardly support the environment. When your company makes an effort to lower carbon emissions or source materials from a different factory, these will be noticed by consumers, and they will think more highly of the company as a whole.
This switch to sustainable methods can be aligned with your company’s mission to help consumers and stakeholders know that your mission and values have a common goal. In the eyes of consumers and employees, the company’s mission should be more than just making as much money as possible. There needs to be an emphasis on helping a common goal, which would make the company look better, and ultimately improve brand image.
2. Brings in new customers
When a company is marketed as sustainable or environmentally-friendly, they will attract a new target group. Many people will search on the internet to find brands that are reducing their environmental footprint, which could potentially lead them to your website or list your company name. This new target market will help to expand the company, and would be a good test to see what products or items they are interested in buying. Creating sustainable staple pieces, basic minimalist pieces that could be worn time and time again, would be a great place to start.
This change is also not large enough to lose any existing consumers, and if anything, it would increase brand loyalty. Your existing customers will stay, and you will be attracting a brand new cluster at the same time. Sustainability policies are helping to keep up with consumer demand.
3.Sustainability is not going away anytime soon
Although sustainability has been an ongoing trend, it is not a fad that will be disappearing in a few months. In fact, this is only the beginning of sustainability trends. Companies should be creating long-term plans that will work at improving their sustainability policies over the years. This trend has already been around for a while, and it has only become more and more popular.
Many trends come and go, but sustainability practices are here to stay, and can help keep our planet to stay as well.
4. You can start slowly and continue to improve
Adopting sustainable practices does not need to be a drastic change to every function of the supply chain and the transportation system. It can start slowly, and leave room to increase over the years. It could be as easy as using recyclable boxes or packaging.
After that, it might be a good idea to implement a new change every year, or as often as possible. Find a manufacturer that has proper labor laws in place, and source organic cotton instead. It may also be helpful to create goals for yourself and include that in the mission statement, or sustainability statement. For example, “by 2024 we will get rid of all single use plastic in our shipping packaging.”
5. Stay competitive with other clothing brands
Many popular clothing stores have taken steps to be more conscious of their environmental impact and where they are sourcing their products. For example, H&M has a whole Conscious line that is made from ethically sourced materials.
This can also incorporate flexibility to help the transition. It offers products that are sustainably sourced, while also providing the same clothes as before in case customers would prefer the old styles. The prices of certain items may have to rise, which could provide a bit of hesitance from long-time customers, but by gradually adding in a section with the higher-priced conscious items, those customers can still buy their regular priced items in the other section.
6. It Could Save You Money
Becoming more environmentally friendly does not always have to be more expensive, or less profitable, for your company. In many ways, these changes being made could save money on electricity or power that is needed to ship products or manufacture products. Some ways this would be possible is by using less packaging, less artificial dye in clothing or packaging, or using energy-saving light bulbs or solar panels to power machines and computers.
This would save money on the manufacturing side and the shipping/handling side, effectively lowering costs. According to Business Insider, since 2008, there have been energy efficiency opportunities for businesses, like replacing old computers or changing light bulbs, that could potentially save $1 billion in net operational costs over the project’s lifetime. This is exactly what the Triple Bottom Line is about, and it is a win-win for many situations.
7. Lowers chances of buyer’s remorse
Many consumers fall victim to “buyer’s remorse” which is when there is instant regret of a purchase. This is especially common with online shopping, because they usually cannot feel the quality of the item, and they cannot see how it fits. It could be after buying something expensive or unnecessary, but it could be after buying something cheap and low quality.
Fast fashion is a known-term in the industry, and many consumers might feel guilt after purchasing an item that is cheap, especially when it is linked with child labor or other unethical supply chain practices. By becoming more sustainable, consumers are less likely to experience buyer’s remorse because they will feel like they are making a difference, and they will use it as their reason to buy a product.
No matter what clothing or accessories your company sells, there is always room for improvement when it comes to helping people and the planet. Many companies might be afraid to take the leap towards sustainability with fear of having higher costs, or potentially having to raise prices. But that is not always the case. There are countless ways to actually lower operational and shipping costs by implementing different sources of energy, power, and using less materials, or recycled materials, in the packaging. Also, many customers are willing to pay more money if something is being marketed as a sustainable product.
Sustainability in itself is an amazing marketing tool that is guaranteed to increase the number of customers, and provide more traffic to the website or storefront. By using the Triple Bottom Line, and incorporating sustainability efforts, your business will become more successful, and help improve the world one item at a time.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to deepen your understanding and knowledge of the practices of sustainable fashion, don’t hesitate to take a look at our course “The Sustainable Fashion Industry“. Our short and to-the-point, online class covers a wide range of topics spanning from sustainable business models to strategies to lower your carbon footprint. Here’s a link to the course, if you use the discount code BLOG20 at checkout you can access a 20% discount. Enjoy!