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“Business as usual” is no longer relevant

  • Opinion
  • October 3, 2019
  • Vanessa Thompson
“Business as usual” is no longer relevant

Is sustainability just another consumer trend? Unravelled Consultants founder and director Vanessa Thompson considers the longevity of this wide-ranging movement.

We are living in a changing world. A world that has been impacted by hundreds of years of human invention, development and growth, which has ultimately led to abuse. We have taken our planet for granted, and there is no longer any give in this relationship – only take. The saying "business as usual" is no longer relevant.

I have been asked by a few businesses if sustainability is just a trend, and if consumers will move on to something new in a couple of months. Sadly, our need for sustainability in business and in life is not a just a trend - it is imperative. For businesses, people and our planet to survive, we need to make changes now.

Throughout history, companies have been mainly focused on profit, generally a short-term target that increases every year. They have carried on cutting costs and increasing margins, producing more stock, driving extreme markdowns and selling as much as they can in order to achieve these targets.

We need to change this thinking! Don’t we want our businesses to exist in 10, 20 or even 100 years’ time?  Don’t we want our staff, shareholders and customers to thrive in a business that believes in taking responsibility for its actions and listening to the voice of their customers?

In August 2019, the Business Roundtable (which represents 181 leading U.S companies, including Walmart and Apple), declared that purpose and profit were inextricably linked. Since 1997, the Business Roundtables’ annual document has focused primarily on shareholder capitalism, but from the announcement earlier this year, the members of the Business Roundtable are now committed to improving society, and meeting the needs of all stakeholders – including customers, employees, suppliers and communities. Businesses are now recognising that the ‘3 P’s’ – People, Planet and Profit, can all work together.

Retailers and brands that do not have a sustainability strategy in place will struggle to perform or even exist in the years to come. Raw materials derived from non-renewable resources such as polyester or nylon will soon find that prices will significantly increase due to shortages and changes in legislation on extracting oil. Brands that use virgin conventional cotton will have price increases and lack of supply due to soil degradation and climate change, as a result of years of toxic pesticide use and poor farming standards. Due to deforestation, increases in cellulose fibers such as viscose will have increased dramatically.

Customers will move on to your competitors who have established values and actions that meet theirs. People no longer trust brands who aren’t implementing actions that will improve their impact on the people or the planet. In a recent Futerra survey, 88 percent of consumers said they expect brands to help them lead more sustainable lives. If you want your business to survive, you must take action now.

Sustainability is not a goal but a journey. Taking the first step of uncovering and understanding the impact of your business from the ground up will not only identify potential risks, but also potential opportunities. Start by outlining clear, achievable goals and seek help if you do not have the experience. Making small changes now will add up over time, and help to ensure the future of your business.

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Gem Retail Hotlist: Barkers innovates the in-store experience

  • Design
  • November 21, 2019
  • Catherine Murray
Gem Retail Hotlist: Barkers innovates the in-store experience

Barkers won the 'Hottest in-store experience' award at the 2019 Gem Retail Hotlist. We've investigated what made them stand out.

Read more
 
 

Gem Retail Hotlist: Nothing nutty about Pic's Peanut Butter World

  • Design
  • November 21, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Gem Retail Hotlist: Nothing nutty about Pic's Peanut Butter World

Pic's Peanut Butter World was the winner of the 'Hottest fit-out' award at the Gem Retail Hotlist this year. We found out more about its fabulous fit-out.

Read more
 
 

How do Kiwis do their Christmas shopping at Mighty Ape?

  • News
  • November 20, 2019
How do Kiwis do their Christmas shopping at Mighty Ape?

New Zealand e-tailer Mighty Ape surveyed 2,962 Kiwi shoppers post-Christmas last year. Among its findings are that Black Friday is officially bigger than Boxing Day among its audience, with almost four times as many products were sold on Black Friday compared to Boxing Day 2018. Cyber Monday, the online-only sale that falls on the Monday following Black Friday, has also proven to be popular with Kiwis. It now also outsells Boxing Day at Mighty Ape.​ ​It's presented further findings in a clever infographic.

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Introducing New World's 2019 Christmas ad

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Introducing New World's 2019 Christmas ad

New World and Colenso BBDO have unveiled this year’s Christmas ad, showing the generous Kiwi tradition of inviting every available Tom, Dick and Harry to Christmas lunch, resulting in many mouths to feed.

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Raglan Coconut Yoghurt's Latesha Randall reports back from the US on what's hip and happening

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • Latesha Randall
Raglan Coconut Yoghurt's Latesha Randall reports back from the US on what's hip and happening

Latesha Randall is ​the co-founder of Raglan Coconut Yoghurt, a delicious dairy-free yoghurt born out of a beautiful town two hours south of Auckland. She previously documented the adventures of her company when it was a start-up in a column in Idealog – you can read it here. Recently, Randall traveled to the 2019 Natural Products Expo in Baltimore, USA and observed the food trends that were happening abroad. New Zealand foodies, take note: here, she reports back on what she thinks will be big contenders in the future food space.

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Outdoor goods retailers Cactus Outdoor and Kathmandu collaborate

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • The Register team
Outdoor goods retailers Cactus Outdoor and Kathmandu collaborate

Two prominent Kiwi outdoor goods retailers, Kathmandu and Cactus Outdoor, have collaborated to produce a line of certified ‘Buy NZ Made’ products which will be launched in Kathmandu stores around New Zealand on Buy NZ Made Day this week.

Read more
 
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