As consumers’ awareness of sustainability issues widens, the public demand for sustainable solutions grows. Consumers search for easy ways live sustainably, both to secure their own and loved ones' health, and to contribute to global sustainable development.
According to Nielsen, 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable offerings, meaning products and services that don't harm people or planet. The demand for sustainable solutions does not only come from millennials or the coastal elites with high income and education: 74%* of all US Baby Boomers across the country say that conscience guides their buying decisions. These expectations from the public are putting pressure on more and more industries and business models.
Companies with value propositions that enable people to lead sustainable lives are leading the market. The old guard companies that see sustainability merely as greening the existing business are lagging behind. If sustainability is handled as a risk management issue solved through philanthropic donations from a corporation’s tax exempt foundation, it might soon be seen as greenwashing rather than actual sustainable business.
Innovation is to deliver a solution that somehow meets a new need and creates new value in the market. Sustainable innovation means delivering new value in the age of sustainability, i.e. providing a solution that visibly and measurably support a sustainable shift and makes it easier for people to feel like they are part of creating a sustainable future.
The entrepreneurs that unlock the growing global demand for sustainable living solutions, create new business models and harness the power of disruptive technologies win.
Five steps to deliver value in the new era of sustainability
1. Identify your company’s unique potential for actively moving the sustainable development ahead
- Avoid seeing sustainability as matter of philanthropy separate from the core business
2. Build a value proposition that is meaningful and valuable given the new demand for sustainability
- Consider products in the pipeline instead of repositioning offerings already on the market, and make sure to build deep market insights
3. Analyze how to deliver the most impactful sustainable solutions based on existing in-house capabilities and available technologies
- Include all organizational strengths and imagine how they might benefit other sectors.
4. Move from concept to actual launch in close collaboration with external stakeholders to ensure meeting their needs
- Build cross sector partnerships and engage end-users and clients in design decisions.
5. Assume a role in the bigger narrative of the sustainable future
- Position all offerings and investments in the context of global sustainable development.