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Do you have a plan for being a sustainable company? Reach3 reports from TechCrunch Sessions: Climate 2022

July 15, 2022
Lianne Frick

Lianne Frick

Research Consultant

The topic of sustainability is ripe for innovation – understanding and meeting consumers where they’re at will be not only the key to developing those greener products for your company and our planet, but also a way to get a leg up on competitors by offering a differentiating factor.

This June, we had the pleasure of attending the TechCrunch Sessions: Climate 2022 conference and hearing some of the industry’s leading minds voice their thoughts on tech businesses and their roles in addressing one of today’s most challenging and timely issues – climate change. As researchers for some of the world’s leading companies, keeping up to date on continuously changing industry trends is an important part of how we synthesize insights and we’ve already seen shifts in research interest towards consumers’ expectations around sustainable products and services. Here are a few topics that caught our attention as things that companies like yours should being keeping in mind for the future. 

Moving forward, sustainability will only become more prominent in the consumer space, especially as millennials’ and Gen Z’s purchasing power increases. Our research from the past year showed that Gen Zs and millennials care about sustainability more than anyone else, and they are more likely to seek out sustainably made products. During TechCrunch’s Climate Sessions, we heard that companies can and will listen to consumers, and as the number of younger buyers grows, more and more consumers will want products that are good for the planet. William Collins, UC Berkeley Earth and Planetary Science Departments professor in residence opened the first session of the day saying, “Sales will dictate the movement,” giving the example of the electric car industry, which has taken off due to consumer demand. Many traditional car manufacturers, such as Ford, have begun shifting away from gas vehicles and are painting a picture of an all-electric future. 

In the most anticipated session of the day, Bill Gates, founder of Breakthrough Technologies (and the lesser-known Microsoft) focused his discussion about trends and patterns he’s seen across his portfolio. His focus spanned broadly across industries, and echoing many other speakers, emphasized the inevitableness of the sustainable revolution, stating that it will happen at “the scale of the agricultural revolution and the speed of the industrial revolution.”  

Later in the day, Pat Brown, Chief Visionary Officer and founder of Impossible Foods, described making a sustainable choice the easy choice for consumers. He explained that the growing young audience wants to purchase sustainably, but often encounter price or performance barriers. As long as the product “serves consumers better than the thing you are trying to replace,” said Brown, then businesses will be able to scale and garner adoption from consumers. As soon as sustainable options that match existing options in cost and quality appear on the market, adoption will occur extremely quickly. Brown added, “People always underestimate how fast tech replacement can happen,” and he’s seeing it happen with Impossible already. Just think of how quickly Kodak was rendered obsolete in the consumer space by falling behind with the invent of digital cameras. The replacement of traditional products with sustainable alternatives is an inevitable future and organizations need to continue to focus on innovation in the sustainable tech space to remain ahead of the curve and not fall behind.  

As we bring this to a close, take a minute to think – what is your company doing when it comes to sustainability? What do your customers want to see in sustainable companies… and have you ever even asked them? Involving your customers in this conversation is key to delivering genuine and authentic sustainability initiatives that show you truly care and aren’t simply trying to get some PR brownie points by greenwashing.  

The topic of sustainability is ripe for innovation – understanding and meeting consumers where they’re at will be not only the key to developing those greener products for your company and our planet, but also a way to get a leg up on competitors by offering a differentiating factor. Keeping a close eye on market trends and understanding users is one way to stay ahead of the curve.

Our conversational insights approach here at Reach3 Insights is particularly well suited for important topics like sustainability. Want to chat about how we can help explore this incredibly important space? Give us a shout at lianne@reach3insights.com or info@reach3insights.com today!  

Lianne Frick
Lianne Frick

Research Consultant

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