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UK businesses spend £2m to meet sustainability demand

By Sasha Fedorenko July 10, 2019 - 11:30 am

UK businesses are spending £2 million on ‘greenefying’ their products to meet sustainability demand, says new research by Bazaarvoice.

Bazaarvoice commissioned investigative research with Savanta in June 2019 among 600 B2C businesses from the UK, France and Germany.

The study found that meeting consumer demands around environmentalism tops the challenges faced by British (55%) and French (49%) respondents – where remanufacturing expenditure hikes to nearly €3.5 million (£3.15 million).

Interestingly, this figure drops to €1.6 million (£1.44 million) in Germany, where businesses list the quality of products as their greatest challenge (46%), followed by environmentalism (40%).

The report attributes the higher expenses across different markets to the heightened consumer demand for greener products.

With climate change and sustainability currently at the very top of the business agenda nationally, almost half of UK respondents express that greener materials within products (49%) would be a feasible solution to making businesses greener as a whole.

Certainly, remanufacturing products appears to be largely geared towards increasing the product lifecycle, at least three quarters (75%) of European sellers are investing in higher quality materials to this end.

However, less progress has been made in different territories. While 88% of British respondents state their business has looked into recyclable packaging, only 36% currently report they have successfully made the change. This is almost double the uptake seen in Germany (20%), and nearly 3 times higher than in France (13%).

The balance of power

Exploring where challenges to driving change occur, the study finds less than half (45%) of European professionals with oversight of the supply chain report that they feel they hold power over transformational change.

One-third of UK businesses admit the balance of power is split equally with manufacturers. This is even lower in Germany (29%) and France (22%).

In a bid to close the business-supply chain gap, around a quarter of UK (25%) and French (27%) businesses feel new legislation would help to drive businesses towards greener production and packaging materials, rising to one third (31%) in Germany.

While regulation might take years to arrive, businesses are driving change in the supply chain by proving the issues they face with real customer feedback.

In fact, 9 in 10 respondents have used ratings and reviews to inform the conversations they have with manufacturers, with 44% stating that this authentic customer content helps them obtain wider business insights on a day to day basis.

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