12 Tips For Growing A Sustainable Brand
While the headlines have been full of little else but coronavirus lately, global warming has not gone away. As such, it remains essential that businesses do what they can to stay green and be a sustainable brand. Fashion businesses, in particular, play a big role in our environmental impact. But it is possible to mitigate this issue with smart, sustainable choices. Today we’re going to talk about some e-tips for growing a sustainable brand in 2020.
1. Address the tricky problem of wasteful packaging
Packaging is one of the biggest and most pressing issues facing businesses today. Accounting for a third of an average dump’s contents, packaging is an ugly truth that cannot be ignored. This is especially true today. With ecommerce businesses flourishing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and more customers turning online to shop; the problem of wasteful non-compostable or non-recyclable packaging grows. Thankfully, there are businesses that are addressing this issue. With the threat of climate change looming ever larger, a number of eco-friendly alternatives have become available.
Cardboard is the most popular solution. Relatively affordable and recyclable, it’s often the first choice for brands on a budget. It also offers a great degree of creative flex too. There are a variety of innovative ways your customers can reuse cardboard packaging afterward, helping it stretch further. If you opt for cardboard packaging, look for ways to make these uses more feasible. For instance, by providing pre-scored cardboard that makes it easier to fold, and by including instructions on how to do so. But while recyclable is good, biodegradable is often better. This kind of packaging gets rid of the need for single-use material. This is because it gradually decomposes on its own and reduces the production of excess waste into the bargain.
As well as packaging, there is also a growing number of environmentally-friendly ink alternatives on offer too. Generally vegetable-based, these inks are easily recycled, generate less pollution during production, and are actually more cost-effective too. As a fashion business, you understand that your packaging is an extension of your aesthetic. The way something is presented is just as important as the thing being presented. Embracing sustainable packaging speaks volumes about your brand, its ethos, and its values. Eco-friendly packaging doesn’t need to be ugly. It can be beautiful, functional, and a physical manifestation of the green credentials of your brand values.
2. Reconsider your supply chain for greener & ethical alternatives
It’s important to remember that, as a fashion business, your green credentials do not start or stop with you. You rely on a variety of third-party suppliers, for everything from fabrics and production to more localized services such as office supplies or web hosting. Consequently, it’s important to build sustainability into your extended business model as much as possible.
Start with your supply chain. Whether you are starting a business from scratch or you’re evaluating your existing chain, it’s a worthwhile exercise that helps you walk the walk, rather than just talking the talk.The clothing brand Patagonia undertook such an analysis. In 2012, it completely overhauled its supply chain to ensure that it was as ethical and sustainable as possible. This included the creation of a dedicated online hub on its website, outlining its work. Of course, such an endeavor can be an expensive and time-consuming task, out of the reach of those brands without Patagonia’s budgets. But there are ways smaller brands can embrace this.
Take your web hosting, for instance. It’s an essential part of any business with an online presence, and yet it’s easy to forget that it can have a significant carbon footprint too. Opt for green web hosting services that offset their carbon emission through strategies such as tree planting initiatives. Some providers, such as InMotion, opt to reduce their energy consumption at source by using innovative air cooling techniques to cool their servers.
You could also create a separate non-profit project to run alongside your fashion business, with your profits going to a sustainable charity or cause of your choice. Launch it at low cost (dropshipping is a simple business model that requires very little initial investment) to increase your profits and as a result, your donation amount as well.
Similarly, you might want to consider stepping up your product development by weaving it into a social giving program. Many fashion businesses use products handmade by poorer communities abroad, paying a fair and ethical price in return for the goods — Global Mamas is a good example of this. Of course, this requires a little more effort on your part. But it is a genuinely sustainable model that gives back to the planet by helping struggling communities that are often overlooked in the West or developing nations to thrive.
These are just a few examples. Each business model is different, so you will know how best to assess and overhaul yours.
These tips are just a few ways you can build a sustainable brand. While you might lack the budgets of bigger brands, simple and ethical swaps and steps can go a long way towards helping your fashion business embrace environmentalism in 2020. If you want more FREE information on sustainability, be sure to join our Fearless Fashionpreneur Facebook Group!
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