Ready for some staggering facts? Across the globe plastic production is around 380 million tonnes and increasing, with more than 90% of this becoming waste. And it gets worse, according to the National Geographic nearly a million plastic beverages are sold every minute.
Plastic has become a valuable part of business and daily life, and while we should all be looking for ways as individuals to help keep our planet healthy, to truly address climate change and have the greatest impact businesses need to step up to the challenge and address their use of plastic.
There is no better time than now for businesses to take the lead in creating lasting change, so this Plastic Free July we take a look at why businesses should reduce their use of plastic.
What is Plastic Free July?
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Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions be part of the solution to plastic pollution. Established in Australia in 2011 the movement has spread to more than 190 countries, with over 140 million dedicated to the challenge.
The groundswell of action from individuals and businesses across the globe has helped drive regulation and legislation at a global level. In March 2022 an agreement was reached to start negotiations for a global treaty to tackle plastic pollution. The agreement opens the door for action to be taken across the full lifecycle of plastic, from manufacture to waste. This is a huge step in the fight against climate change and will be remembered in history as the moment the tide was turned to stop plastic pollution.
Why brands should get involved:
We know that there’s a massive appetite and demand for businesses to do the right thing in terms of action on climate change. In recent years the C-Suite have recognised that a brand’s value can be created or destroyed depending on whether they are on the right or wrong side of a debate. When it comes to reducing plastic, this can be a true differentiator for a brand, and those businesses that are not prepared to take bold, decisive action will be left behind.
Here are five reasons why businesses should take action now and eliminate plastic.
#1 Increase Innovation
The great thing about investing in sustainability for business is that it increases the capacity for innovation, allowing businesses to constantly strive to change things for the better. Investing in more efficient equipment, redesigning a product to eliminate plastic or using new technology to minimise waste are all examples of the different ways businesses can keep innovating and evolving their products, production methods or service offerings.
#2 Improve Financial Performance
While reducing the use of plastic in a business may take an initial investment, over time the business will save money. According to McKinsey, businesses that implement a sustainability strategy can reduce costs substantially, affecting operating costs by as much as 60%. Being sustainable also opens doors to investors and government grants. In recent years we have seen an increased interest in investments in sustainable brands, as concerns about sustainability challenges, especially climate change have come to the forefront. Businesses will now not only have to deliver on financial performance but will also have to show investors how they are making a positive contribution to society.
#3 Mitigate Risk
Chief risk officers and chief legal officers don’t generally think of plastic-waste reduction as part of their remit; however, regulators, consumers and activists are increasingly focusing their attention on plastic waste, which means that organisations should be proactively implementing sustainability practices to prepare for future government mandates and avoid possible fines, penalties, or lawsuits if plastic waste shows up where it doesn’t belong.
#4 Win New Customers and Increase Loyalty
Consumers today have clearly expressed their desire for brands to align with their values. Plastic waste and climate change are at the top of the list of issues that all generations say they are most concerned about. 85% of consumers have indicated they want retailers and brands to be more transparent about the sustainability of their business. Therefore, reducing plastic is a good marketing tool and a key differentiator for customers deciding whether they want to do business with you.
#5 Improve Employee Engagement and Attract Talent
Reducing plastic and putting a sustainability framework in place will help a business attract and retain talent, motivate employees by instilling a sense of purpose and increase productivity. 77% of Gen Z, who are the up-and-coming business leaders, want to work for a socially responsible company. This means that companies that commit to sustainability will attract the top talent.
The past few years have provided more than enough wake up calls that show reducing plastic and implementing sustainable strategies will positively impact businesses. As the public continues to look to brands to provide social stability it is vital that organisations take action and effectively communicate their sustainability commitments, and what better time to start than Plastic Free July.
Related content: Sustainability Now: Trends Shaping Sustainable Marketing Communications Report
Looking to kick-start your sustainability commitments this Plastic Free July? Get in touch with us today for help crafting your corporate communications.