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What your consumers want you to do for the planet

why carbon offsetting is not the answer

Spoiler: They don’t want you to offset your carbon.

Imagine for a moment you want to buy a T-shirt. You head to one of your favourite stores, find one that you like the look of, try it on, then take it over to the counter to pay. 

The cashier smiles at you as she inputs the price then asks whether you would like to add $1 to your bill. You ask why. ‘Well, we made a bit of a mess when we printed this T-shirt. There’s the CO2 released from the manufacturing which will need carbon offsetting and the pollutants from the dying process that we need to dispose of…  All in all, it’s going to cost a dollar to clean up.’ 

You reply that you think perhaps they should clean up their own mess, given they were the ones making the T-shirt. ‘No, we don’t do that, we’d rather pass it on to you. And if you don’t pay to clean it up, it will probably pollute waterways, kill biodiversity and make life harder for your children.’ 

Not the most uplifting conversation is it? Would you still buy the T-shirt?

Now imagine you go into the store next door. The assistant in Shop 2 thanks you for coming and explains that not only are their T-shirts sustainably made, but the shop will also plant a mangrove for every T-shirt sold. You can then view the tree and watch it grow via their website.

A much better offer, right? Knowing that the business is not only responsible, but also regenerative incentivises you to support the brand. 

 

Why carbon offsetting alone doesn’t cut the mustard 

It’s no different when it comes to your own business. You may not be selling T-shirts, however your company will be having an impact on the planet whatever service or product you provide. 

Consumers care about the environment and want to do their bit to save the planet, but they don’t want to be cleaning up your emissions. Carbon offsetting is essentially just that: paying to retroactively pull carbon from the air to negate activity. The planet is not getting a net benefit from your investment, it’s just breaking even. 

People want to look beyond carbon offsetting and think about how they can give back and support the environment. And they want businesses to help them in their efforts. In a recent study from Wunderman Thompson, 83% of people said that they wanted businesses and brands to focus on having a positive impact rather than just doing less harm. The involvement of private organisations was also seen as critical, with 84% believing that regeneration will not happen without the help of businesses. 

What’s more, there are business incentives in pursuing positive environmental impacts. In the same study, 75% of people said they would actively look to buy from brands that are setting ambitious targets to achieve regeneration. The feel-good factor from regeneration not only helps the planet thrive, but could also help your business grow. 

So how do you become more like Shop 2? It’s simple. Look beyond carbon offsetting and find ways that you can support regenerative projects, incorporating them into your business so that your customers feel like they are improving the planet through their interactions with you.  

At Handprint we connect businesses to exciting projects across the world and allow them to follow the success of their investments. From funding plastic clean ups and tree-planting initiatives to providing clean water to communities and funding support systems for disadvantaged women, we work with organisations focused on protecting and restoring the planet. Our plug-in can be incorporated into any part of the consumer journey, from email sign-up to final purchase. 

To find out more about how you can integrate regenerative projects into your business and inspire your employees and customers, get in touch here