Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the relationship between consumers and businesses has always been volatile and dynamic. Increasing consumer demand for economic, social and environmentally-responsible products and services saw businesses pivoting to implement sustainable practices in the last decade.
In this two-part episode ‘Why Sustainability Makes Cents’, Dr Lau Kong Cheen, Senior Marketing Lecturer at the SUSS School of Business, discusses the place sustainability has in the economy, and if it is a key strategy for businesses in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Kong Cheen cites three outcomes under the spotlight as a result of the virus outbreak: the positive impact of climate change when industries froze; an alarming mortality rate amongst communities in lower-end socioeconomic groups; and the disruption of value chains as companies grapple with upstream and downstream concerns.
“It’s very much about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future of our next generation,” he explains about why current issues support the case for sustainability.
Some industries like fashion, mining and home furnishings have already adopted sustainable strategies. There are also some companies founded upon the core value of sustainability, influencing consumer behaviours as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives.
“Brands are in a good position to sell the ideas of sustainability and to charge more,” Kong Cheen adds. With education and transparent communication, consumers will become more receptive to necessary price hikes due to sustainable practices.