SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 04: Amazon Prime boxes are seen in a bundle of recycled cardboard at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
If you believe the headlines, the Age of Sustainability is dawning. In the retail industry, sustainability has become a top priority. Plastic straws are out, solar power is in. Destroying unsold stock is out, ethical treatment of animals is in.
By all accounts, consumers care deeply about the planet’s future. But few can define “sustainable” beyond a platitude or those green trash cans at the end of their driveways. Few brands can explain it without getting mired in jargon and corporate gospel. Even fewer retailers and brands are effectively leveraging and communicating their sustainability initiatives to customers much beyond solar panels and panda logos.
Meanwhile, the most impersonal and sustainably rogue channel, e-commerce, continues to boom and Amazon (NYSE: AMZN) continues to ship us billions of packages each year, many of which contain more air than goods. We love Earth, but our actions suggest we love convenience more. Why aren’t we putting our money where our mouths are?