The shopping habits of millennials and Gen Z have changed the way brands sell their products; experiences, e-commerce pop-ups and personalization are dominating retail. But these consumers also value sustainability and ethical business practices, which many brands have been slower to address at the risk of the future margins.
“We’re so hyper-connected that people can find out information almost immediately and Gen Z has never lived in a world without this connectivity,” said Kim Matsoukas, senior manager of sustainability and social responsibility at Vans. “They’re able to be more aware of some of the issues that we’re facing as a society, whether they’re social or environmental, and they care deeply about those issues.”
An increasing number of brands are incorporating sustainability initiatives into their business strategies, but the back-end can sometimes be overlooked in favor of more marketable programs. However, as supply chain transparency becomes an expectation, many companies may find themselves left behind by their savvier competitors.
“There are very real, immediate commercial benefits,” said a spokesperson for Provenance, a digital platform that utilizes blockchain to help brands authenticate their supply chain. “These include charging a premium, retaining and increasing market share, defending brand reputation and mitigating risk, and driving customer loyalty.”