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Research on consumer trends suggests acceptance of a “Green Fee”
Green Salon Collective services are cost neutral when salons introduce a “Green Fee”. In many cases, salons and other hairdressing businesses more than cover the cost of our ethical disposal and recycling services. However, not all business owners are confident in broaching the subject with their clients.
Here we summarise leading research which suggests that consumers are taking sustainability into account when making purchasing decisions and are also willing to pay more for sustainable options like, for example, your hair salon service which recycles its foils, disposable towels, even hair.
Googling all things sustainable
Did you know you can look up what other people are looking up? Google Trends lets you explore search keyword trends per country or worldwide over the last few days or weeks or even years. Try “sustainability” worldwide over the last five years and you will see a steady increase in searches. A Think with Google article sums up my point nicely:
‘We have observed a marked increase in sustainability-related searches in just the last 12 months alone, particularly for ‘zero waste’, which has grown 6X faster than ‘sustainability’ searches. Consumers are significantly more educated on this issue, and as a result they have rapidly increasing expectations of brands to be enabling the goals they have for changing their own behaviour.’ Justine McCullagh
Google itself hasn’t missed the point. They are now making it easier to become more sustainable, carbon aware buyers of goods and world travellers on their platform. From searching appliances to mapping efficient travel routes, Google is banking on a shift of consumer consciousness.
Great green expectations
People around the globe, especially the young, are challenging brands and how their products and services impact the environment. Unilever, an enormous multinational consumer goods company, found that “90% of Gen Z consumers expect brands to do more to help reduce climate impact and improve the state of the world” (British Beauty Council).
People are voting on the success of brands by spending their hard earned money on products and services that align with their own values. According to Unilever, “its purpose-driven brands are growing at twice the rate of its other product lines” (British Beauty Council). It is no small shift when millions of people change how they spend.
Consumers are willing to spend more on sustainable options
Not only are people seeking out greener alternatives but they are also willing to pay more for them. A study by leading consulting firm, Simon-Kutcher, has shown that more than a third of people are willing to do so. Their survey, which covered over 10,000 people across 17 countries, found that these people would even pay as much as 25% more on average.
Another similar poll last year by YouGov found that double the amount of consumers are willing to pay extra for sustainable options versus not. It also found that younger people are more likely to pay more for sustainable options than older people.
Some research has shown that covid has had its part to play in consumer behaviour shifts. Hubbub, an environmental campaign-building charity, conducted a poll which found that 28% of people were motivated to “take more action to tackle climate change because of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
There is some research looking beyond general consumer trends. Another Hubbub poll found that even cosmetic choices changed for the greener soon after the pandemic hit. 1 in 7 people were found to have changed to a more environmentally friendly cosmetic or beauty product between April to July 2020.
People want to be a part of the solution
The climate crisis is daunting and many people, understandably, don’t know where to start or don’t know where they can make the most impact. It is generally agreed upon that people do want to do the right thing and make a difference.
Many people say that cost is a barrier. And they’re not wrong. Greener alternatives can be expensive, at least in the short term. But choosing a more sustainable hair salon, for example, really doesn’t have to be. Paying a £1 Green Fee is literally a small price to pay to allow an establishment to ethically dispose of the waste created by the very services provided to their clients.
Not only that, the Green Fee can be an icebreaker on the topic. People are talking about climate change and the climate crisis and here is a chance to talk about it from a more positive light. This is what is being done about it. This is how you’re contributing to the solution!
We get a lot of feedback from our members about how their clients react to the Green Fee. Many salon owners have reported that their clients are more than happy to pay the fee. Some have said that being clear with their clients about the fee and why they charge it has strengthened customer loyalty.
On the other hand, we have heard from members or those wishing to join that they are reluctant to introduce the Green Fee. In those instances we have challenged them to actually ask their clients themselves and those that did were surprised.
Please share with us your experience with Green Fees by emailing Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org
References and further reading
- Think with Google article by Justin McCullagh, Destination zero: The latest consumer trends around sustainability
- CNBC Climate article by Catherine Clifford, Google is updating Maps, Search and other products to help consumers save energy and reduce emissions
- Hubbub research poll, Hubbub 2021 polling on environmental attitudes and awareness
- Hubbub article by Trewin Restorick, Consumers are starting to hold beauty brands to account on sustainability
- British Beauty Council publication, The Courage to Change
Stats at a Glance
Sustainability-related searches continue to increase, “particularly for ‘zero waste’, which has grown 6X faster than ‘sustainability’ searches.”
Think with Google
90% of Gen Z consumers expect brands to do more to help reduce climate impact and improve the state of the world.
Unilever’s purpose-driven brands are growing at twice the rate of its other product lines.
British Beauty Council
More than a third of people are willing to pay more for greener alternatives to the products and services they currently purchase.
82% of people have been prompted to take more action to tackle climate change and of those 28% said that this was motivated by the pandemic.
1 in 7 people switched beauty products to more environmentally friendly ones soon after the pandemic hit.Hubbub