Consumers have plenty of options when it comes to buying sustainably, but how do they choose the most eco-friendly products and identify genuine claims?

In our personal lives, we often hate when salespeople try to "help" us. How many of us have dreaded the car shopping and buying process — trying to look at models, colors and options while the sales people begin to circle? You can copy and paste that experience to a wide range of situations: furniture, clothing, electronics, the list goes on. Some companies, like CarMax and Carvana, have been very successful due in no small part to their desire to upend that negative customer experience and sales process. Now think about the other end of this spectrum and the level of frustration caused when you just can't find someone to help you when you have every intention to purchase. Sometimes good help is hard to find.

Consumers are actively seeking help to better understand how they can buy sustainably. Product ingredients can be confusing, sometimes purposefully so as brand owners and advertisers look to capitalize on growing consumer interest in sustainable packaging by pursuing as many eco-related claims as possible. Greenwashing aside, consumers are also not decisive in the products they're looking for. Do they want bio-based, recyclable or compostable, and which of these approaches is truly better for the environment? I wrote some time ago about the adoption of the How2Recycle label and how that is changing the nature of package end-of-life. When the package tells you how and where to dispose of it, you take out some unknowns and prevent the contamination of recycling streams caused by "wishcycled" products that consumers wish were recoverable, but aren't.

We're actively working on many sustainability-focused packaging initiatives with positive environmental impacts, whether the benefit is from our supply chain, from renewable raw materials or in more circular packaging. We know customers and consumers are looking for these offerings. As we move forward, we'll have to do our part and help connect the sustainability-minded with sustainable solutions.

— Simon

Consumers want to buy sustainably—they just don't know how

New study finds that while 95% of people in the U.S. want to make sustainable purchases, most of them don't know what to look for to determine if something is, in fact, sustainable.

There's something different about H&M's newly released 2019 fall and winter collections: They're sustainable. Made from recycled textiles, metals, and discarded cotton fibers, the fast-fashion brand's new line is trying to step away from an industry cluttered with products made from crude oil, like nylon. H&M is one of several brands working with Project Effective, which promotes the use of sustainable materials in the textile industry and was formed last year by companies Aquafil, a carpet manufacturer supplier, and Genomatica, which uses bioengineering to create natural alternatives to synthetic products.

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