As Kermit the Frog once famously sang, ‘it’s not easy being green’. Yet if retailers want to continue to appeal to millennials, it is my belief that 2019 is going to be a crucial year for brands to find ways to be more environmentally friendly.
Awareness of the damaging impact that the retail sector can have on the environment is at an all-time high. With this awareness has come a real feeling of conscientiousness within the millennial generation, and it’s already having a major effect on the decision-making of this group when it comes to purchasing. In 2018 we saw the nation take a stance against the volume of single-use plastic sent to landfill, from straws, to plastic bottles and coffee cups. I believe this heralded the start of what will become a hot topic in retail in 2019 and beyond.
‘Generation Green’ is already going some way to shape retailer behaviour, forcing brands to use greener, and more readily-recyclable packaging, but in my opinion this is just the tip of the iceberg. As consumers become more environmentally savvy, their demands on retailers to treat our planet well will continue to increase. This might range from consumer scrutiny of supply chains to ensure they are ethical, to increased awareness when it comes to the carbon footprint associated with deliveries. Just look at Amazon; it delivers on average 1,600,000 packages every single day. The carbon emissions, plastic and energy consumption associated with that figure will be off the scale, and it’s only a matter of time before consumers take action and fight to overcome the negative impact this is having on our planet.
There is no doubt in my mind that, in the next 12 months, shoppers will increasingly wake up to ways that they can reduce the impact their shopping habits have on the environment. Whilst consumers will continue to look for efficiency and convenience, in my opinion they will become less likely to do so at the expense of the planet, favouring environmentally conscious brands over others. In making these choices, they will spur retailers into further action, pressuring brands to offer a greener shopping experience from warehouse to wardrobe. My prediction and my hope is that, as a result, the retail landscape will look much greener by the time we are ringing in 2020.