Hot trends to cool earth

Eco movements, from climatarians to data sustainability and circular luxury, that should be on every marketer's radar.

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This story originally appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of strategy.

For this year’s Earth Day, strategy shares eco trends – gleaned from Wunderman Thompson Intelligence’s The Future 100 report – that should be on every marketer’s radar as they look to meet consumers on the sustainability frontlines.

Climatarians

Screen Shot 2021-03-25 at 2.13.35 PMIKEA’s “ScrapsBook,” a cookbook with recipes based on ingredients you would otherwise toss (from banana peels to bones), is a signpost of the next frontier in climate-friendly diets.

Food companies are working to reduce their footprints, but food production still accounts for a quarter of global carbon emissions. And many consumers are looking to take action, with brands stepping up to help “climatarian” diners better understand their choices.

Last October, Panera Bread introduced carbon footprint labelling, working with the World Resources Institute to identify earth-friendly menu items. That month, Chipotle created “The Real Foodprint,” a sustainability tracker for orders to help customers calculate the environmental impact of their lunch.

Data sustainability

Though eco-friendly initiatives often put physical waste in their crosshairs, humans’ sprawling digital footprints have large environmental footprints of their own.

According to Bloomberg, digital information stored in data centres already accounts for 2% of global electricity consumption and could be four times that by 2030. And, by some estimates, the computing power required to support Bitcoin uses nearly as much energy as the country of Argentina.

As people learn about the impacts of their digital activities, brands could leverage data sustainability in their eco goals. In Canada, early-mover Volkswagen recently made the website of its ID4 all-electric crossover carbon-neutral to support its sustainability positioning and educate consumers, too.

Circular luxury

GucciThe secondhand market is growing for fashion brands as environmental concerns rise and shoppers spend prudently amid a recession.

In Canada, resale, rental and subscription were the three fastest-growing segments in apparel retail (with the exception of ecommerce) last year, according to marketing intelligence firm Trendex North America. Brands and retailers are taking notice.

Gucci, for example, signed a deal with The RealReal to feature its products on the luxury resale site, which also partnered with Burberry and Stella McCartney. Closer to home, Quebec-based Simons is now offering secondhand goods, such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel handbags, in some of its stores.