Building trust with customers to be a sustainable retailer

27 March 2023, 08:00 AM
  • We explore how retailers can effectively communicate their sustainable credentials to customers
Building trust with customers to be a sustainable retailer

Revamping your shop to be more sustainable is a noble effort, but don’t forget to shout about your achievements, however big or small. A survey commissioned by Tetra Pak found that two-thirds of consumers “highly value” companies that take steps to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions and 68% value companies that provide recyclable packaging options, so don’t let your hard work go under the radar.

For Eversfield Organic, sustainable advances are a big part of their marketing strategy. “We endeavour to consolidate [our sustainable] practices through our marketing materials, such as social media, e-shot, and our Newsbeet blog, all of which provide an entertaining yet transparent insight into our mission,” Mitch Thorne, marketing executive, says.

“Without being condescending, we want to educate our customers to make informed choices and decide whether they can alter any of their purchasing to contribute to a more sustainable production line.”

Effective communication is crucial in 2023, says Gary Lewis, chief commercial officer at KTC Edibles. “Articulating why you’ve chosen specific ingredients enables you to stand out from competitors – and also offers an opportunity to defend or justify these choices,” he explains.

Whole Foods also noted that ‘climate-conscious callouts’ on labels are becoming more popular. “Across our aisles, products are taking to their labels to talk about sustainability efforts in a time when consumers expect brands and retailers to do more related to carbon and climate,” their trend report states.

Some certifications, like Fairtrade, can be a fast-track to building trust with consumers. “Our latest consumer research tells us that Fairtrade remains a highly trusted and visible mark, with 87% consumer awareness and 79% trust,” says Anna Mann, head of responsible business at the Fairtrade Foundation.

“Our strong brand is a useful platform for independent retailers to leverage when it comes to communicating the value of Fairtrade products and helping to expand the drive for sustainable and fair supply chains.”

Giving consumers the information they need to make environmentally conscious choices goes hand-in-hand with building a sustainable brand. As Heather Morris, co-founder of food start-up specialists SH Foodie, explains, consumers know that sustainability is important – they just need a push in the right direction.

“They need the help of us in the food and beverage industry to lead the way and facilitate the changes we need to implement to benefit us all on our planet.” In 2023, it might be tempting to let sustainability fall to the wayside, but the businesses that commit to stocking sustainably are poised to reap the rewards.

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