Younger Consumers Demand More Accountability
While the sustainability movement continues to make huge waves across multiple industries, companies leading the charge are under an enormous amount of pressure to be transparent about what actions they are taking.
Consumers committed to change are demanding the same from companies, and they are becoming more vocal about their lack of trust in companies’ sustainability claims. A survey by Genomatica showed that nearly 9 in 10 consumers (88%) don’t immediately trust brands that say they’re sustainable.
The Bank of America labeled Gen Z (born between 1995 and 2010) as the most disruptive generation of our time. Thanks to the internet and social media, these digital natives are tech-savvy and customarily make informed purchasing decisions. Their ability to connect, convene, and create disruptions through their keyboards and smartphones has the potential for global impact. These are the generations that are questioning authority and compelling real change.
The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and GenZ survey showed that millennials and GenZ, as consumers, often put their wallets where their values are. They support companies based on how they treat the environment, protect consumer data, and position themselves on social and political issues. Bank of America also predicts that Gen Z’s income will surpass that of Millenials, and younger generations are focused more on sustainable shopping than on buying from popular companies.
In the business world, the consumer is king, and businesses are making moves toward sustainability to gain favor with customers. However, many companies are putting up a facade rather than doing real good. The act of exaggerating a company’s environmental credentials is known as greenwashing. Even large companies like Coca-Cola, Nestle, and H&M have been criticized for waste generation and pollution while claiming to commit to the climate cause.
A McKinsey report found that Gen Z values authenticity and ethical consumption practices. This gives companies a financial incentive to appear more socially conscious, which can lead to greenwashing. For example, a company in Australia marketed disposable diapers and diaper disposal bags as “100% biodegradable” while they contained plastic components that only broke down into smaller pieces. The company was ordered to publish a corrective advertisement and establish a trade practices compliance program by the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission).
Make a Difference by Investing in Waste Diversion Technology
The world is becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of our waste. To that end, more and more organizations are committing to sustainability goals for their waste management. However, traditional waste management practices can often hinder sustainability efforts, leading to contaminated recycling streams and inefficient use of resources.
Here are a few ways that companies can demonstrate their sustainability commitments by investing in waste diversion systems, technologies, and data.
- Implement a waste diversion system that separates waste streams into different categories.
- Adopt waste reduction strategies, for example, using reusable or compostable packaging solutions.
- Tracking waste data can help companies keep a record of waste generation and diversion rates to monitor their progress toward sustainability goals.
- Conduct regular waste audits to identify areas where waste can be reduced, such as through source reduction, recycling, or composting.
- Engage employees and stakeholders in waste diversion efforts by providing hands-on training.
Smart waste management solutions like TrashBot help companies with waste diversion and can qualify their sustainability commitment. TrashBot is a smart bin that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify and sort recyclables from non-recyclables in a waste stream, and with TrashBot’s technology, it can learn and adapt to new items over time. It also comes equipped with a dashboard that shows real-time data on a facility’s waste stream and provides on-demand waste audits.
TrashBot is designed to improve recycling and composting rates through accurate sorting at the source. It can also empower a facility’s zero-waste vision.
Technologies like TrashBot are an excellent waste management solution for brands and companies that want to demonstrate their sustainability commitment. Not only does it help improve recycling rates, but companies can collect data from the waste stream and track their progress. This data-driven approach to smart waste management can bolster a company’s sustainability position and show the public concrete impact to back up stated promises.