How to engage your customers in sustainability
  • Category:
    Small Business Energy Savings
  • Published:
    September 15, 2021
  • Updated:
    February 2, 2022

How to Engage Your Customers in Sustainability

Do consumers care about sustainability when it comes to your business? In today’s environment, people expect companies to do more than provide great products and services. They want them to be responsible members of the community. And that means caring for the environment both locally and globally.

Your ability to engage customers in sustainability initiatives can help your business stand out and can help you establish loyal relationships with the people who do business with your company. When you engage your customers in sustainability, you can help the environment while you and build a lasting path to profit and growth.

Why should I encourage customers to be more sustainable?

While your business can achieve a great deal on its own when it comes to consumer sustainability, engaging consumers can bring you considerable additional benefits and impact when running an eco-friendly business.

  • Multiply your impact. When your business and consumers work together, you can accomplish more.
  • Increase awareness and support. Involving consumers makes them more conscious of their role in protecting the environment and more supportive of the actions your company is taking.
  • Attract customers and boost sales. Environmentally conscious consumers will appreciate your company, giving you a competitive edge that can bring in more business and increase loyalty.
  • Boost employee morale and pride. Employees tend to identify with and actively support employers that take a leadership role in their communities. Environmentally friendly work practices help build and sustain your corporate culture.
  • Improve the environment. Caring for the environment today and for future generations is a reward in itself, for you, your company, employees and customers.

Do consumers care about sustainability?

Numerous studies show that consumers vote with their dollars, favoring companies and brands that care about sustainability. It makes sense to engage customers in sustainability. In fact, 50% of growth among grocery brands comes from products making sustainability claims.

Sustainability matters in services as much as in other sectors. Big businesses have taken notice, and now, small businesses are beginning to understand the importance of consumer sustainability trends, too. Consider adopting a small business sustainability plan to better engage customers in sustainability.

Environmentally conscious consumer statistics

Environmentally conscious consumers statistics

Just how environmentally conscious have consumers become? The numbers tell the story:

  • 77% of people believe it’s moderately important to very important that companies be sustainable and environmentally responsible.
  • Similarly, 76% of people expect companies to support recycling.
  • Some 33% of adults in the US report they’re spending more time thinking about the climate than they did before COVID-19.
  • 68% of consumers say they’ll actively seek brands that reduce their impact on the environment.
  • For 61%, energy-efficiency is important.

7 ways to engage your customers in sustainability

With a little effort, you can encourage customers in practices that are more sustainable. Keeping your customers engaged in this and other initiatives may help you build lasting relationships with them. At the same time, you can strengthen corporate culture when you get employees involved in energy-saving practices.

1. Let your small business lead by example.

Before you can lead, you have to do. Take action. Promote sustainability in your business with substantive initiatives like going paperless and eliminating waste with circular economy practices like recycling and reusing. By prominently adopting environmentally sustainable strategies in your business, you set an example for employees and customers.

2. Share information and resources about sustainability.

Provide detailed information about what your company is doing to promote a more sustainable business. Include information on your website, in newsletters, through on-premise signs–everywhere you connect with the public. Don’t stop there. A great way to engage customers in sustainability is to empower them with tips for saving energy or recycling, and providing updated facts and information they can put to practical use.

3. Promote your sustainability efforts through social media.

Social media is an ideal way to connect with environmentally conscious consumers. You can share information about company initiatives, provide tips, and engage customers in sustainability conversations. You can share energy efficiency tools for small businesses, for example, and ask followers of your social media accounts how they use them at work and at home.

4. Donate a portion of your profits to a charitable cause.

Making a donation to an environmentally-focused charity brings attention to the cause, enhances employee pride, and gives consumers a reason to feel good about doing business with your company. Ideally, you can find a charity that is relevant to your business. Engage your employees in coming up with ideas and take suggestions from customers.

5. Participate in local sustainability events and initiatives.

Many city and county organizations host events and lead initiatives that benefit the local environment and community. These can range from community clean-ups to recycling drives to energy efficiency workshops. By participating, you help the cause, generate publicity, potentially involve employees and engage customers in sustainability conversations and events.

6. Allow your customers to get involved.

Beyond asking whether or not consumers care about sustainability is figuring out what matters most to them, and creating ways they can help. Early in your planning, you can host a listening summit to get opinions and ideas directly from your customers. The key is to get them involved and to understand customer sustainability trends and concerns specific to your business or industry.

7. Offer incentives to customers who practice sustainability.

Create programs that issue reward points or rebates for customers who participate in your recycling program. Match dollar for dollar donations made by your customers to your chosen charity. Once you’ve figured out your environmental sustainability focus, you’ll be able to brainstorm ideas to incentivize customers and encourage them to act.

When it comes to caring for the environment, whether reducing waste, cutting energy consumption, promoting a cleaner community, or protecting natural resources, group efforts are the most effective. While any individual can play a role, the impact you can have is multiplied if you can get many people involved and engage customers in sustainability.

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