see link http://www.amcham.org.hk/images/magazine/jul10.pdf – pg 34 – 36
”Today, the consumers have more say and more choices and [there is] more competition and variety. You can select but what’s missing is that a little bit of education,” Lizette Smook says.
“If you bring to people’s attention, people will act… When Starbucks say you can have a paper cup or a ceramic mug, how many people will say I don’t want a paper cup and I want a mug?
Why? It’s because people have choice. They just need that a little bit of input of information.”
Second, the emergence of new players and their ability to adopt new technology and globally accepted standards are also changing the industry landscape rapidly. The stereotype image of sweatshop manufacturing in many of these countries is outdated. The arrival of high-standard manufacturers from countries like India, Turkey and China means more “eco-friendly” products measured up to the advanced standards of developed countries are available. This also means greater pressure on prices and more choices of eco-friendly goods for consumers.
So how do you differentiate yourself ?: “You have to look at the future.
It’s a product for the future.”
Branding as a strategy
The desire to be different is now driving many retailers and brands to take a hard look at their CSR and green programs. While multinationals are much better positioned to walk the sustainability and green talks, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are often unable or afraid to try. Cost, lack of knowledge, and perhaps a simple lack of interest are to be blamed.
“The message they are saying is that it’s better keep it quiet because this is an area if I got criticized… If I say this product is made from bamboo, then the first argument is that you are taking food away from the pandas,” she says
Think big, act small
So for SMEs, Smook’s advice is to think big but act small. It is critical to remember that changing behavior and mindset takes time and effort.
Smook explains. “You start a journey towards a more sustainable business model and a more sustainable supply chain but you don’t do it all the way in the first go.”
“We need to curb consumerism. The amount of stuff that we consumed – 12 percent of everything that we buy we never use again and we throw away. Twelve percent conservatively according to Datamonitor,” she says.
“With so much stuff that we buy, if we can just pay a little bit more and buy a little bit less – but this is a whole change in the psychological… It’s deeper than just being educated by scientific research that the climate has changed, the CNN telling us every morning about some green solutions, it’s more than that.”