trendwatching.com, an Amsterdam-based independent trend firm, scans the globe for the most promising consumer trends, insights and related hands-on business ideas. For their June 2008 Trend Briefing, the focus is on 3 trends for the branding of eco products and services: ECO-ICONIC, ECO-EMBEDDED and ECO-BOOSTERS. Read the full Trend Briefing.
Eco-friendly goods and services sporting bold, iconic markers and design, helping their eco-conscious owners show off their eco-credentials to their peers.
At the heart of ECO-ICONIC is a status shift (isn’t there always?): many consumers are eager to flaunt their green behavior and possessions because there are now millions of other consumers who are actually impressed by green lifestyles.
Opportunities for ECO-ICONIC
When designing your 2009 eco product line, don’t mirror what’s already out there in the non-eco world, but make it bold, original, distinguishable, and yes, iconic. Whether it’s cars, shoes or detergents. … give your customers something that will yield them instant respect and status from other green-minded consumers.
Examples of Local ECO-ICONIC
Didier Ng is a local designer who reuses and recycles waste material and objects into original lifestyle and fashion products like lamps, furniture, bags, wallets and accessories. Each piece of her work is unique and shows that there is no such thing as waste.
The Oceanfront @ Sentosa Cove is a waterfront condominium developed by City Developments Limited (CDL), which was the first private apartment to be awarded the BCA Green Mark Platinum (the highest rating). Some green features of the condominium includes energy efficient air-conditioning system, rainwater harvesting system, twin-chute pneumatic waste conveyance system for separation of refuse and recyclables, and recycling of greywater for flushing of clubhouse’s toilets and landscape irrigation.
While the current good intentions of corporations and consumers are helpful, serious eco-results will depend on making products and processes more sustainable without consumers even noticing it, and, if necessary, not leaving much room for consumers and companies to opt for less sustainable alternatives. Which will often mean forceful, if not painful, government intervention, or some serious corporate guts, or brilliantly smart design and thinking, if not all of those combined.
Think green buildings, or a ban on plastic bags or gas-guzzlers – anything that becomes truly embedded into daily life, and by default leaves no choice, no room for complacency.
Opportunities for ECO-EMBEDDED
Prepare for much more regulation in years to come as it is the only way to embed sustainability into mature and emerging economies. (China, anyone?) Which means new markets for anything and everything. So joining in, instead of fighting the inevitable, may be a smart move. Why wait until something becomes mandatory – especially if you can see it coming for miles and miles – to then (yet again) be lumped in with the laggards?
Examples of Local ECO-EMBEDDED
IKEA was the first retailer in Singapore to stop giving out free plastic bags and instead charged 5 to 10 cents for each bag. IKEA has seen over 80% reduction (about 5.3 million bags) in the number of plastic bags given out since they started charging for plastic bags in Apr 07.
SMRT replaces its old bus fleet with the cleaner Euro V buses and exceeds the environmental standards set by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), which requires 40% of all buses to be less polluting by 2010.
Expect smart companies to quickly move from ‘merely’ neutralizing and offsetting their undesirable eco-effects to actually boosting the environment by doing something extra.
Basically, once companies and consumers can no longer get away with anything less than totally offsetting their negative impact on the environment – and this will happen sooner rather than later – the only way to stand out, to gain any kind of respect in the eco-sphere, will be to go the extra mile (no pun intended). From planting more trees than is strictly required, to cleaning up not only your own mess, but someone else’s, too.
Opportunities for ECO-BOOSTERS
Count on merely being sustainable, or merely being carbon-neutral to soon be the starting point, not the end goal. So start thinking about how your brand can actually boost the environment instead of just limiting the damage. Call it PR or responsibility or both. As long as you’re going out of your way to do something extra, everyone wins.
Examples of Local ECO-BOOSTERS
Are there ECO-BOOSTERS in Singapore? If you know of any ECO-BOOSTERS or if your company is one, let us know.