With a growing global population and an increasing demand for consumer goods, innovation in product design is needed to meet the environmental challenges of resource scarcity, while ensuring a competitive financial edge for multinational consumer companies. Effective design and production of products that “use less to make more” ensures that greater demand can be met in a profitable manner. Further, by considering the life cycle of products, companies can ensure that the re-use of their product materials is factored into their design. Environmental sustainability and conscientious use of natural resources are intrinsic to the long-term growth of consumer companies. To gain a complete view of a corporation’s performance financial fundamentals and sustainability fundamentals must be evaluated side by side. For this reason multiple company departments are funding sustainability projects, especially those pertaining to supply chain, energy, and risk management. Not surprisingly, in 2015 the majority of corporate spending on sustainability consulting did not come from companies’ sustainability teams, but from multiple parts of the organization.1
The behavior of global consumers is shifting, and already a significant percentage are willing to pay more for goods and services from environmentally and socially responsible brands. To capitalize on this shift in consumer preference, companies can benefit from increasing their investment in sustainable product development and marketing. International consumer companies are already reaping the rewards of sustainability initiatives and campaigns. Since 2008, Unilever’s ‘Sustainable Living’ program has saved over $400 million in costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 1 million tons, while increasing global sales by 26%.2
Sustainable supply and demand of consumer goods is on the rise, and this is good news for everyone.