Joining the dots. Helping customers support circularity | Article by Gordon Renouf

The transition to a circular economy will happen more quickly if consumers are empowered to easily choose products from brands that are part of the circular economy or moving in that direction. Consumers need the ability to find and identify those products and brands.

We know that a large majority of shoppers say they want to chose sustainable products and brands. Surveys by Nieson and Mintel show large majorities of shoppers want to buy from more sustainable brands. More precisely detailed research by Mobium in Australia shows about 50% of shoppers actually feel “conflicted” when they cannot make shopping choices that they believe align with their pro sustainability values.

But it’s important to remember that consumers are not just looking for “sustainable” products. They want products that meet all their needs, – style, price and function – as well as being sold by brands that align with their values.

We created Good On You (GOY) to help shoppers find products that meet their needs from brands that meet their values. 

Right now shoppers use GOY to check how brands rate on labour rights, environmental impact and animal welfare. They also have the ability to discover new brands that rate better in alignment with their values. The app has been downloaded more than 120K times, the blog and newsletter reach more than 100K people each month.

Our vision is a world where consumer choices drive brands to be sustainable and fair. Our focus is on empowering consumers to help drive change.

Consumer campaigns have a long history of successfully driving change. Back in 1792 a consumer boycott of West African – grown sugar was a key step in the campaign to abolish slavery. In modern times consumer power has influenced Nestlé to adopt a no deforestation policy, Fruit of the Loom to re-open a unionised factory in Honduras and Zara to abandon the use of animal fur.

The platform is built on a comprehensive and robust brand rating methodology. We’ve already rated 1.5K fashion brands for their impact on animals, the environment and workers– we’re aiming to hit 10K brands in the next year while keeping all brand ratings up to date. Our ultimate goal is to provide consumers with the information they need about every brand they may consider purchasing. We think that’s the only way to empower consumers to drive change.

When we collect information on a brand we stand in the shoes of the sustainable consumer: what would they conclude if they know what to look for and had a lot of time to do it? This is why the first step for any brand is to be transparent about all relevant aspects of production. It’s no use taking action to be sustainable if your customers don’t know what you have done or where you are going.

GOY offers tools to help brands and retailers that support the circular economy to prosper. We help brands tell their sustainability story by building awareness and helping them gain recognition as a sustainability leader. We connect brands and retailers to the consumers who are highly motivated to choose products from more sustainable brands. By supporting leading brands we help them grow and invest in increasing their commitment to sustainability. We can also help retailers with data  that can help them improve their product range and customer reach.

Take into account that it’s easier for consumers to change one step at a time. Often a particular shopper will be very focussed on just one specific issue that they are currently most passionate about. Likely the range of issues they care about will expand as they nail shopping against that first issue and learn more over time.

For smaller brands in particular it may also be hard to change your entire approach in one hit. This means your sustainability efforts may not initially strongly appears to all your potential customers. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a roadmap, and to keep your customers informed about your plans and your progress as you work towards your goal of becoming a circular economy business!