Now if you follow what I do on the internet you’ll know that I have pretty strong opinions on how companies and brands embrace sustainability. Firstly I need to say that those who are trying to make their businesses more environmentally friendly should be celebrated whenever possible, but there’s always a right way to do something.
I see hundreds of companies that tote the language of the sustainability movement. “Plastic-free” “vegan” “plant-based” and many more. These terms indicate a perceived value as being more sustainable but these labels hold a big responsibility. Of course there is the issue of “greenwashing” where a company claims to be more sustainable than they really are, but almost more detrimental is when an eco-friendly brand creates a bad product.
Hear me out here for a second.
Let’s say for example, that you are wanting to try hemp clothing for the first time. You go out of your way to do a bit of research, you find the product and perhaps you even pay a bit more for the thing you want. When you receive the shirt and wear it for a couple days you find it uncomfortable and unsatisfactory. What does this do to your interest in further exploring more sustainable alternatives?
My bet is that this will put most consumers off. For many people, their first impression of something is going to be the deciding moment for future behaviours. If that first time is awful or even just unremarkable there’s a chance that a lifetime of behaviour changes are out the window. The solution? Make better products that are also better for the planet.
The effort to get people to switch brands or products has been a war waged since we started buying things. Unlike the decision between one soft drink or another, the choice between a sustainable brand and another has consequences for the whole world. We need to make that change as easy as possible, and that starts with creating a quality product.
Particularly in the oat and almond drink world the movement away from traditional “milk” was slow. Alternatives were noticeably different in texture and in taste and not in a good way, but today we see the maturity of an industry that has come to meet the challenge of growing demand for earth friendly products.
My personal favourite is the Earth’s Own Oat Cafe Edition, their oat coffee creamer. . When you’re talking about impacting people’s routines then getting into coffee cups across the world has to be a top priority. With the creamers of my past there was always a “curdling” appearance or a sandy look that never satisfied quite like traditional creamer. But this product is the “cream of the cream”. The Canadian oat made coffee creamer pours, tastes, and looks better than traditional cream.
This is the kind of experience we need to be giving people who want to make a difference in their everyday lives. It can’t just be a sustainable goal, it has to be paired with a product people actually want to buy.