Do you dream of a green Christmas? A commitment to sustainable development is for life, not just for COP-26
When British viewers tapped online or on terrestrial TV in late October and November, advertisers and big business had a clear message above all else: a commitment to the planet, with brands celebrating UN COP26 and putting forward their ecological references.
The Co-op grocery chain has launched a nationwide in-store campaign promoting its ‘Count on Us’ climate change pledge. It renamed six Co-op flagship stores across the UK to âCo-op26â to coincide with the conference.
Another 2,600 of its grocery stores carried the same message in-store encouraging customers to ask how they can impact climate change at the community level.
The month of November left consumers in no doubt that making a positive impact on climate change is the greatest opportunity for our generation and unites us in all businesses, communities and continents.
December presents a different tone, and the same screens remind us weeks later that it’s absolutely time to buy gin in bottles that light up – for purely cosmetic reasons and fill refrigerators with food. A loaded banquet table seems to guarantee the success of a happy family reunion, at least in the advertising world anyway.
The selling machine is in full swing to remind buyers of their time to spend, spend, decorate, food and gifts, and environmental and sustainability promises seem to be taking a back seat to âbuyingâ. ” needs. And the surge in sales of Christmas must-haves can leave a real hangover of garbage the next morning.
UK commercial waste management company BusinessWaste.co.uk presents the reality of the holiday season in startling statistics about the time of year that creates more plastic waste than any other.
In the UK alone, more than 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging is used during the holiday season, of which at least 3,000 tonnes is used for packaging the centerpiece of the festive meal, the turkey.
- A staggering 99% of those surveyed said they simply threw Christmas presents in the trash at the end of the day.
- Some 81% said they used a plastic tablecloth that is thrown away at the end of the holiday season
- 78% said their Christmas wrapping paper goes straight into a large plastic bag and gets stuck in the household garbage
- The average person in the UK handles over 50 types of packaging every day and that number is increasing until Christmas.
Buyers are keen to change holiday shopping traditions, certainly those that go against the feeling of being more environmentally friendly. The electric vehicle initiative, Go Ultra Low, conducted research that suggested 72% wanted to reduce their plastic waste this Christmas. The majority of people most concerned about litter this time of year were either Millennials (ages 24-35) or Gen Z (ages 18-24).
So what needs to change? Buyers should be able to trust organizations’ commitments to reduce excess unnecessary waste in highly valued products.
Packaging accounts for about half of the total weight of chocolate sold at Christmas, according to consumer rights group Which ?. The medium selection box (a combination of favorite branded chocolate bars) will have more wrappers than products.
Ferrero Rocher produced by Ferrero SpA is one of the most popular sweets in the UK. It sells at a rate equivalent to two treats per capita of the entire population, which is actually 42% packaging and 58% product.
Product communication can certainly be improved with caution, starting with clear and honest messages on all products regarding consumers’ recycling options.
Clarity on what recycling logos mean and to make it easier for shoppers to find which products are easy to recycle and where a business could instead donate to a recycling charity.
Standardization needs to be established in the retail and manufacturing industries on the whereabouts where the consumer needs to look for details and help to get information about the subsequent life cycle of the product, including all the components.
Simple initiatives like that of clothing retailer Fat Face are easy to implement and appreciated by consumers as being more environmentally friendly and cost effective. They are encouraging shoppers to think green by forgoing non-recyclable shopping bags and reusing the brand’s own paper bags. Online tutorials help shoppers repurpose brown paper media in packaging and decorations.
Boden, the UK-based fashion brand, has announced that it will be removing all glitter and glitter from its collection in an effort to adopt more eco-friendly alternatives.
The retailer explained that it is committed to finding more creative ways to add even more “wow” to the collection and play its part in reducing the 8 million tonnes of plastic that end up in the oceans each year.
With the rise of groundbreaking initiatives ranging from Christmas tree rentals to recycling decorations, the way shoppers can choose from available and affordable alternatives is changing. Social media has the power to act as a vehicle for the good of the planet when publications and peer to peer posts include at least as many positive messages about greener ideas.
Christmas traditions won’t change overnight, but this year appears to be a turning point. Consumers will think about how retailers are making a positive impact and making improvements throughout the year rather than just in association with conferences or environmental events.
And with 100 million bags of trash sent to landfill every Christmas in the UK, this time of year is the best time to start.
A greener Christmas doesn’t mean shoppers have to feel like The Grinch. Consumers’ determination to do better must be celebrated by retailers, who stay true to environmental commitments throughout the year. Not just when they take a trip to space.