trend towards sustainability Blog

Keep up-to-date with the latest updates in sustainable production and purchasing.
Learn about industry expectations, trade best practices and regulations.

  1. Exploring post-pandemic trends in Global trade

    The coronavirus pandemic, which swept the whole world in early 2020, created a real roller coaster for the global economy. What began as a local Chinese threat, by the end of March turned into a record loss since 2008 for the global market. Not only the most vulnerable segments of the population and the middle class, who lost their jobs and income, but also richer people whose fortunes in a short time decreased by more than a trillion dollars. Despite the development of vaccines, many are still wondering what a recovery might look like.

    The Covid-19 crisis continues to change the realities of our daily lives and the world around us. The path to the normal path becomes more and more difficult to imagine. Companies, governments, and individuals are grappling with transformational change that has set new and unexpected trends in motion in virtually every industry. As the likelihood of reverting to a pre-pandemic state decreases, three key areas affected by the pandemic are the corporate environment, consumer behavior, and company operations. The changes caused by the pandemic have already changed our lives and our shopping habits. Trends such as work and homeschooling, as well as online shopping, are prompting a huge number of people to adapt to the changing world and use modern technology in their daily lives.


    Demand for sustainable development in post-pandemic world


    Companies and economies are recovering but not going back to normal. The trend says that the recovery is going back to a NEW normal.

    According to economists, governments and businesses are motivated to take the trend into account while estimating the recovery plan. It is becoming mandatory to reduce emissions and make a transition to more sustainable energy sources and sustainable production methods. The past shows that when breaking into nature can have disastrous consequences like pandemics, the stronger the global warming is, the more pandemics and other

    Exploring post-pandemic trends in Global trade

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  2. H&M Faces Boycott in China Over Stance on Treatment of Uyghurs

    Swedish group H&M, which owns the second-largest clothing chain in the world, has released an official statement on the situation in China. In it, the company announced that it is working with Chinese colleagues and is doing everything possible to cope with current problems but does not provide any specifics.

    Recall that recently, H&M was at the center of a scandal over its decision to abandon cotton purchases in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region due to allegations of massive, forced labor camps in the region. A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) thinks tank, delivered in March, distinguished H&M as one of the recipients of a constrained work program through colored yarn maker Huafu, which possesses an industrial facility in eastern China's Anhui territory.


    Who are the Uyghurs?


    The Uyghur minority lives in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. They make up 45% of the area's population and 40% are ethnic Han people. In total, about 10 million Uyghurs live in China.

    Since China regained control of the region in 1949, many ethnic Han Chinese have migrated to Xinjiang, which is why the Uyghurs are now worried about the possible crowding out of their own culture.


    What is known about the situation of the Uyghurs in China?


    Activists who fight for the rights of the Uyghurs say Beijing discriminates against them. One example is their so-called re-education. According to the testimony of journalists and human rights activists, the Uyghurs are being isolated in "educational camps." Some are sent to their hometowns "under arrest."

    According to Reuters, citing UN activists and experts, 1 million Muslim Uighurs are being held in Chinese camps. China denies this and claims that these camps are merely providing vocational training for people.

    The researchers say that activists are in constant fear of possible harassment. In addition to such violations of rights, everyday discrimination is also used against Uighurs, making the minority feel like second-class people. For example, Uighurs may be refused a hotel room.


    H&M is determined to overcome the crisis


    The company said it does not work with any garment manufacturer in the region and will no longer buy cotton from Xinjiang, which is China's largest manufacturing region. However, the Swedish group admitted that it had “indirect commercial relations with a factory” located in Shangyu, Zhejiang Province (southern China) and owned by Huafu Fashion.

    Recently, against the backdrop of growing tensions between China and the West, angry calls to boycott H&M began to appear on Chinese social media. A few Chinese influencers and celebrities quickly quit teaming up with the organization, while the brand's items vanished from major online stores in China.

    As a result, a boycott of the retailer was declared in China - it was blocked access to all major Chinese platforms, including Tmall, Taobao, JD, and Pinduoduo, and some landlords forced the company to close physical stores as well - according to H&M, about 20 outlets are now closed in the country.

    The wave of consumer boycotts in China coincided with an agreed set of sanctions imposed by the UK, Canada, the European Union, and the United States last week for what they say is a violation of hum

    H&M Faces Boycott in China Over Stance on Treatment of Uyghurs

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  3. Consumer expectations toward retail brand sustainability

    What is a sustainable brand?


    Concerns about climate change, toxicity, and waste have begun to influence consumer behavior around the world. The share of those looking for environmental protection from brands is increasing, and this is pushing companies with a wide variety of products to produce and consume more sustainably.

    A global survey of 20,000 customers by food brand giant Unilever found that one in three (33%) people choose brands they believe are good for the environment.

    Corporate Social Responsibility or «CSR» is more than just a way for brands to stand out. Sustainable branding is becoming an expectation for today's consumers. Companies that combine their mission and purpose with sustainable values ​​and support environmental and social goals in ways related to their business can greatly influence the public's willingness to buy, invest and work for them.

    The Sustainable Brands conference outlined the main characteristics that a roadmap for any green company should include:

    • System-wide brand influence.
    • Net positive products and services.
    • Goals beyond profit.
    • Regenerative operations (recycled materials and environmentally friendly processes).
    • Transparent and proactive governance.


    What problems exist


    A study by McKinsey Fashion on Climate study shows that the fashion industry accounts for 4% of global emissions, of which 70% comes from mining, «especially energy-intensive manufacturing, preparation, and processing of raw materials».

    Intending to reduce the negative impact of the industry on the environment, 32 major global fashion and textile companies, from H&M and Gap to Burberry and Chanel, have signed Fashion Pact.

    The initiative, led by parent company Gucci and French elite house Kering, aims to achieve zero carbon footprint by 2050 and invites the industry to offer «regenerative» approaches to agriculture, including eliminating batch-based intensive farming sources.

    To protect the oceans, the pact calls for a reduction in the use of single

    Consumer expectations toward retail brand sustainability

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  4. Consumers Are Driving Brands Toward Sustainability

    Generation Y (or Millennials born between 1981 and 1996) and Generation Z (born after 1996) represent an ever-growing consumer power in the global economy. In the US, the purchasing power of Gen Z has already exceeded $ 500 billion. Millennials make up about a quarter of the world's population, and statistics show that the purchasing power of Generations Y and Z is high and growing.

    For years, millennials have been a central stage for brands and marketers. But for some time now, the new group has been gearing up to take its share of Gen Z's consumer attention. These are the consumers that companies want to conquer. This audience is expected to overtake millennials, who make up 32% of the world's population. And as Gen Z enters the workforce and their purchasing power increases, they will undoubtedly be a key target for brands to achieve customer appeal.


    Ecology trend


    Climate changes are caused by changes in the earth's atmosphere, processes occurring in other parts of the Earth, such as oceans, glaciers, as well as, already in our time, the effects associated with human activities. Poor ecology is pushing Gen Z and millennials to new consumption patterns that consider the ethics and sustainability of what we consume. While sustainability considerations are not yet a major buying driver, it is expected that sustainable brands will continue to gain market share as the purchasing power of these generations grows.

    It is clear that both consumers and brands are trying to reduce their impact on the planet, and as we approach the critical mass of consumption, we can expect sustainability issues to grow in importance.

    Consumers are concerned about the quality of the ingredients used in the production of goods, the conditions in which the goods are produced, as well as the processing and recycling of packaging. This trend is confirmed by many large companies. For example, the British company Lush was one of the first to understand the importance of minimizing packaging waste and for many years has been producing cans for products only from recycled materials. L'Oreal plans to phase out single-use plastic by 2025. The brand has already launched the Source Essentielle hair care line, where shampoo bottles can be refilled - just go to the L'Oreal Professionnel salon. And there are many such examples in various areas of business.

    Successful green products do not have to look or feel any different than green versions but bringing these products to market in more sustainable ways will undoubtedly become a more important direction for consumers.


    Buyers' opinion


    First Insight's 2019 report, The State of Consumer Spending: Gen Z Shoppers Demand Sustainable Retail, finds that 62 percent of Gen Z who will start shipping this year prefer to buy from sustainable brands.

    Also, the majority of Gen Z (54%) say they are willing to spend an extra 10% or more on green products, with 50% of millennials saying the same. This compares with 34% of Gen X and 23% of baby boomers. It can be concluded that with each generation, the desire for sustainability is increasing.

    Deloitte's Global Millennium Generation Survey 2020 shows young consumers are concerned about climate change and unequal wealth distribution. In a survey, 65% of millennials and 57% of Gen Z said they had increased their recycling efforts, and half of 50% and 41% of Gen Z had reduced or stopped their fast fashion consumption.

    It is also important that consumers are willing to pay more for products that are manufactured with sustainability in mind. According to an Accenture survey, more than half of consumers said they would pay more for green products that are intended for reuse or recycling.

    According to a Nielsen study, consumers across all regions, income levels, and categories are willing to pay more for green products. The level of potential willingness of consumers to pay more for the products of companies that are responsible for society and the environment is more than 80%. At the same time, in developing countries, Millennials and Generation Z are willing to pay the highest prices.

    Consumers Are Driving Brands Toward Sustainability

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