As consumers continue to navigate their way through a myriad of products with ‘green’ claims, more products seem to be filling supermarket shelves everyday.
It is now 7 months since COP26 in Glasgow when bold claims were made as companies pledged action to make a difference.
The pressure from consumers is increasing as rightly, they are demanding environmentally responsible products from organisations that have sustainability at heart.
As circular economy models come to the forefront in more organisations, we still need clearer communication on product packaging to provide a clear and consistent guide to green credentials. Consumers shouldn’t have to work hard to support better sustainability efforts.
Over a decade after products like Method and Ecover arrived on the shelves in the Sainsburys cleaning aisle, a new brand – Wilton London, has just arrived. As well as the focus on sustainability, Wilton wants to become a regular favourite with a focus on scent.
The brainchild of Sam Wighton & Mike Perry, two advertising executives from London agencies, Wilton was born when both reached the realisation that more needed to be done for the planet.
“I spent a large part of my career helping brands tell great stories. But towards the end of my advertising career, I realised that most of the time, I was just helping big companies re-package old products as new ones. When I realised this, I became a lot less engaged and decided to use my skills to create something genuinely new, interesting, important and ethical,” explains Wighton.
“It’s common practice to see our competitors naming scary sounding chemicals they don’t use in their products, even though these chemicals would never appear in that kind of product in the first place. I believe customers are starting to experience eco fatigue.
Many products on the market are now claiming eco credentials and it’s making it really hard for consumers to know who is genuinely trying to do the right thing, and those who are pulling the wool over their eyes.”
A kitchen table business that progressed to a converted spare room and eventually beyond, the brand got its first break with listing in Lakeland. Wighton and Perry put in the hours touring retailers, demonstrating that the product delivers effectively.
Yet Wilton are firm that fast growth should not compromise values, stating that the business wants to set new expectations for the category. Wighton explains:”Eco credentials are no longer a point of difference, consumers expect businesses to be doing better and it’s up to the small guys like us to lead the way and show big businesses how it’s done.”
The brand will be carbon neutral by the end of May but the partnership doesn’t see this as the place to stop.
“We’re going much further than a lot of brands who simply take their business carbon neutral, we’re also doing it for our products. From ‘cradle to gate’. We think this is a really important part of an eco product because the most immediate issue facing our planet is global warming.”
“The most important part of going carbon neutral is understanding our supply chain in more detail. By digging deeper we have found so many ways we can continue to reduce our footprint, in some quite sizable ways. If every business did this, the impact would be huge,” says Wighton.
With consumer interest in finding out which products actually do live by the promise for a greener and better planet, now is certainly not the time for brands to simply turn to smarter advertising and more high-tech jargon.
Customers want to buy from authentic brands that fulfil their commitment towards a brighter future for all. The industry needs to focus on delivering better engineered products and packaging created to freshen our home and protect our planet.
Cleaning products certainly shouldn’t be the dirty word of consumerism. Our supermarket aisles need to deliver.