Is your brand ready for the new green economy?

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With the consumer pull of sustainably desirable lifestyles and the push of new eco-efficient technologies, there has never been a better time to innovate. Economic historian Carlotta Perez identifies that we are on the cusp of a green industrial revolution that will herald a new golden age where not only companies, but entire countries will ascend.

As a team, we reflect on what we’ve learned this past decade as sustainability has become central to our practice and passion.


1. Build the business case

Sustainability creates a virtuous circle of growth. Show senior stakeholders the correlation between responsible operations and business success to build a strong argument for action.

 “We engage with C level personnel demonstrating the many benefits of sustainability including higher margins, additional revenue streams, attracting new generations of environmentally aware consumers and improving staff retention and motivation.” - Nick Dormon, Managing Director

 

2. Bust myths

Sustainability is often counter intuitive.Take care not to perpetuate common misconceptions. Consider this surprising truth: a reusable cotton shopping bag needs to be used 7,100 times before becoming a greener alternative to a plastic supermarket bag (The Danish Environmental Protection Agency, 2018).

“Our structural designers work closely with a team of specialist partners to understand the true metrics and trade-offs. By investing in thorough research and development, we ensure the right decisions are reached and there is no exposure to bad publicity.”– Peter Cowie, Account Director

 

3. Reduce packaging not experience

The quickest and easiest way to improve eco-efficiencies is by light weighting existing packaging and changing to renewable materials (rPET, bioplastics, recycled paper, mycelium etc). Through using the skill of design, you can turn these changes into enhanced consumer experiences.

“The Axe shower pack project was a perfect example of needing to do more with less. By moving to a minimalistic bespoke bottle, we were able to make a considerable material saving while at the same time elevating the consumer experience with a more involved opening.” – Andrew Capper, Creative Director

4. Adapt for cultural contexts

Communities are at very different points of the sustainability journey from one country to the next. When implementing global corporate strategies, make sure to account for local attitudes and behaviours.

“When a multi-national client wanted to move to recycled packaging we developed a series of tailored launch strategies. In Denmark where recycling is a way of life, we had to provide fresh motivation to close the final gap, while in Turkey, where recycled plastic is perceived as unhygienic and a cost cutting exercise, we had to allay fears, convince the sceptics and show the personal benefit.”– Jenny Cook, Graphic Designer

 

5. Evolve from disposable to durable

The greatest sustainability improvements will come when your business replaces single-use products with durable solutions. This requires higher investment, but also creates more valuable, longer-term relationships with customers.

“’Single-use’ was named 2018’s word of the year by Collins Dictionary. People are waking up to their throw-away lifestyles and actively seeking alternatives. From personal care to beverages, we are partnering with progressive brands to design refill systems with covetable keepers that people want to show their friends.”– Anna Sutherland, Structural Designer

7. Turn your supply chain inside out

Companies have historically concealed their supply chains, fearful of trade secrets, or worse, malpractice being exposed. But in this hyper connected, digital age, the doors have been thrown wide open. As a brand, you need to celebrate your supply chain and lead the narrative. The most original and powerful stories you hold, are those of your people, process and guiding values.

“What was previously hidden in a CSR report, became the inspiration for our redesign of English Tea Shop. For the first time, the true ground-to-cup practice of the brand has been brought to the fore, adding beauty with rich meaning that has drawn appreciation from stockists, customers and government officials while instilling deep pride in the English Tea Shop community.” – Nigel Ritchie, Creative Director


There are many opportunities to enhance a brands environmental credentials from corporate strategy to supply chain. Click here to learn more about our sustainable innovation offer, WinWinWin.

 
Written by  Tashi Van der Waerden

Written by

Tashi Van der Waerden