BrainTrust Query: How will assortments change in the green future?
By Dan Nelson, Sr VP / Chief Operating Officer, GMDC
The Institute for the Future recently drew up a 50-year map detailing the seismic societal changes required to reduce greenhouse gasses and preserve ecosystems. The research institute believes efforts to understand and manage climate change will be at the top of the world’s agenda for the next decade.
For businesses, this means decisions will be greatly influenced by their impact on the environment. And decision-making will be provided with more precision as climate scientists and ecologists join together to build carbon-trading markets, measure the value of ecosystem services, and estimate the economic cost of global warming.
“Models of atmospheric chemistry and climate change could rewrite business plans and policy alike as we gain a deeper understanding of the impacts of greenhouse gases,” the researchers wrote.
The Institute of the Future’s report only adds to the dialogue and doomsday statistics surrounding global warming.
The Hartman Group has done considerable research on the increasing consumer awareness and attitudes towards new products and packaging that are better for our environment. Leonardo DiCaprio, Oprah Winfrey, and Al Gore as well as other high-profile celebrities continue to focus on driving the message home to shoppers that buying products that are more environmentally friendly – from laundry care to general merchandise to trash bags – is important for the future and the environment we leave for future generations.
Consumer companies are quickly responding to these studies, statistics, and sound blasts to their shoppers with a rush to introduce more environmentally friendly products, often in surprising forms. For example, Jarden Brands recently announced plans to launch disposable cutlery made from 100 percent recycled plastic, using 10 percent less plastic, and packaged in 100 percent recycled containers.
Clearly, manufacturers are refocusing their marketing, packaging, and advertising around this important and growing issue.
“Hedging against this scientific uncertainty, while taking advantage of commercial opportunities, will be a key strategic challenge for individuals, companies and states,” wrote the Institute of the Future.
Discussion Questions: How quickly and forcefully will mainstream consumers demand more environmentally-friendly products? What impact will this have on assortment changes across retail needed to meet this growing demand? Which categories do see as the biggest opportunities?