Plastic pollution: How your business can help the ocean and build customer loyalty
Plastic pollution poses an urgent threat to the health of our oceans. Marine animals of all sizes – from giant whale sharks to tiny crustaceans – are ingesting plastic particles. But what does this mean for your business? If you do your bit, you won’t just have a clearer conscience: you’ll also appeal to the growing number of consumers who care about the environment.
If our consumption of single-use packaging keeps rising, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Given these startling stats, some brands are now taking their environmental footprint seriously by tackling their plastic waste. And they’re finding that this action has other business benefits too.
The rise of the environmentally conscious consumer
Everyone has become much more aware about the harmful effects of packaging and plastic pollution in recent years. This is largely down to a saturation of alarming images in the media. The BBC’s underwater documentary series Blue Planet II, last year’s most-watched UK series, is a prime example. Many consumers who’ve been exposed to turtles entangled in floating debris and albatrosses feeding on plastic have been affected. They‘re now facing inconvenient truths about our throwaway culture and want something to be done about it.
Shoppers are also beginning to connect supermarket packaging with the contaminants harming marine wildlife. So, understandably, they’re looking for an alternative.
Companies take note: the future is plastic-free
UK supermarket chain Iceland also conducted its own research about plastic and discovered that 80% of consumers would support a plastic-free supermarket. So, in a bold move, Iceland has committed to eliminating plastic packaging from all of its own-brand products by 2023.
Other brands are taking a critical look at their operations to see where they can reduce plastic pollution. Costa Coffee and Marriott International hotels, for instance, have already stopped offering plastic straws at their UK premises.
Eco-friendly businesses get more customer loyalty
Companies that are seen to be making an effort have a lot to gain from customer loyalty. Based on a survey of 20,000 adults from five countries, Unilever found that a third are now buying from brands that have a social and environmental impact.
But with all eyes on the ocean, it isn’t enough to set woolly targets or make claims about your green credentials. Savvy brands already know that it’s time to make ‘plastic free’ their policy.
Your business can play a key part in controlling plastic pollution too. Here are three things you can cut down on or stop using in your office:
- Disposable office supplies – especially disposable plastic pens, are a big ocean polluter. Consider buying refillable or renewable pens
- Plastic cups and coffee cups – only 1% of paper coffee cups are recycled because of their plastic film lining, so we throw away about 7 million paper cups every day. How about investing in glasses and mugs for your teams and guests?
- Water dispensers – bottled water dispensers for the office hold several litres of water, but they still generate plastic pollution. There are now sustainable water dispensers and filters that can help you reduce plastic waste
Controlling plastic pollution: there’s still a long way to go
For companies like Coca-Cola, which sells over 110 billion plastic bottles annually, cutting plastic out completely won’t be an easy task. The drinks giant has promised to recycle the equivalent of all its packaging by 2030. This is quite a challenge, but Greenpeace still feels Coca-Cola’s target isn’t ambitious enough.
By recycling and changing practices in your company, you can certainly help to keep plastics out of our oceans.
However, we appreciate that to effectively tackle the issue of ocean plastic, the UK needs a clear strategy and comprehensive action across business operations and supply chains.
The Marine Professional
At Caspian Media, we’re proud to manage the editorial and production of The Marine Professional, the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology‘s membership magazine.
If you’re interested in learning more about plastic pollution and topical issues in marine science and technology, find out more about The Marine Professional.
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Why? Because when your content is relevant, compelling and published regularly, it gives others confidence in your brand. And developing a following can lead to loyalty.
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By Jennifer Johnson, Industry Reporter, The Marine Professional