Green Loyalty Program
World Economic Forum reports that public concern for the natural environment is rising by 16%—a four-fold increase from the 2000s. The WEF study also points out the correlation between sustainability and brand loyalty, with 50% of customers more likely to purchase from brands that openly commit to sustainable news. With this, many businesses have introduced a "green loyalty program," a system that rewards customers for sustainable behaviors. This showcases the brand's commitment to practicing sustainability and empowers customers to make a difference through brand interaction.
These programs can be implemented in several ways. Customers can gain points if they donate to charity, recycle, refill their cosmetics and bath kits, or give away unwanted items. Beaugrenelle, one of Paris’s luxury shopping malls, rewards customers who donate their used plastic bottles to the store in exchange for loyalty points. The collected bottles are then up-cycled into other plastics and turned into an aesthetic sculpture in the center of the store. Not only did this reduce millions of plastic bottle waste, but it also generated more than 2000 extra transactions and netted the store a 28% increase in customers. In another example from the North Face, an apparel brand, customers are given a $10 discount off their next purchase if they donate their used clothes to the brand. Thus far, this has reduced clothing waste by more than 95,000 pounds in the United States.
BRANDS AS SUSTAINABLE BEHAVIOR INITIATORS
The implication of this goes beyond profit generated or waste reduced; it shows that businesses can be the engine of change that drives people to more sustainable behavior. Though there may have been some customers who donated bottles or clothes because they wanted the points or discounts, these customers have still unwittingly changed their behavior. It is likely that, in the future, they will still recycle used goods. By scaling up the program to incentivize a broader range of sustainable actions—buying green appliances, using renewable energy, or adopting an electric vehicle—brands could spur a GREATer, more People and Planet-friendly ecosystem with their customers.
Green loyalty programs result in business gains and environmental wins. Therefore, with its continuation into more significant actions, additional development on the sustainability front can be achieved. Many might think that the responsibility to spur people to act on something falls on the government, not the business. However, the success of this new, GREATer form of loyalty program proves that the duty to act and encourage others to act falls on everyone and every sector.
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