At the COP26 summit, India’s Prime Minister took an ambitious pledge to reduce the country’s net-zero emissions by 2070. By taking this pledge, the government has shown its willingness to support innovation around sustainability to curb carbon emissions.
Several brands from fashion, beauty and cosmetics, food, and furniture have jumped on the sustainability bandwagon. The products of the sustainable range are highly-priced since they are difficult and expensive to create and most importantly the sourcing of raw materials makes it expensive. Natural fibres, no chemicals, cruelty-free compounds, and scientific advancement requires both investment and time making the product fall heavy on wallets. Are Indians ready to buy such an expensive product range? Well, the numbers say otherwise.
Sustainability and sustainable products are just fads?
The statistics from Capgemini Research Institute found that sustainability is on top of the customer’s agenda, around 79 percent of consumers are changing their purchases based on social responsibility, inclusiveness, or environmental impact. In addition to this, covid-19 is driving the demand for quality eco-friendly products and sustainable purchases for a better lifestyle.
However, the numbers from Statista reports, present a different story. Around 30 percent of Indian consumers think that sustainability is a buzzword and will lose importance in the future. Consumers lack trust in companies that claim to be sustainable. Around 40 percent state that the term eco-friendliness is used loosely by the brands to sell over-priced products and generate revenues by selling a small volume. According to Capgemini’s report, 49 percent of consumers said do not have any information to verify the sustainability claims made by the products. Does an Indian consumer really care about being sustainable or purchasing eco-friendly? What are brands doing to erase the consumers’ perception regarding their sustainable range of products being highly overpriced?
Around 30 percent of Indian consumers think that sustainability is a buzzword and will lose importance in the future.
Brands and their sustainable range of products
Marketers are facing the heat of consumer scrutiny about their products being sustainable. Apparel brands and FMCG brands have been attempting to do the same. However, the awareness of sustainability is yet limited to a few customer groups. What should businesses do to drive people’s awareness in buying sustainable products?
Sustainability behaviour among Indians was seeded when there was scarcity. But as disposable incomes increased it paved the way for use and throw products. The concept of recycling and reusability got lost in the race of newer and upgraded products that accelerated the use of plastics. No matter how much we hold summits and awareness about saving the environment or take pledges about reducing plastic usage, the usage of plastic in routine life is a matter of convenience and marketers continue to attract consumers to embrace unsustainable products.
What should businesses do to promote sustainable products?
Sustainable marketing requires businesses to first admit the damage that they have caused through their unsustainable practices. They should realign their brand purpose by researching more about better business practices, reallocating resources, and developing fair treatment practices for stakeholders. The production, sale, use, and recycling should be aligned to sustainability. In addition to this, NEPA Nepa, a leading Consumer Research and Analytics company found that the meaning of sustainability to Indian consumers is not about going green but also includes aspects of equality, inclusiveness, and wellbeing. Therefore, marketers through its communication should build a system for motivating customers to participate actively in their sustainability projects. According to NEPA’s consumer survey, one in two Indian consumers understand Sustainability and are likely to continue using the top sustainable brands. As the awareness picks up, the brands first to capitalize on this theme are sure to benefit in the long term.