Shopping at Whole Foods is like being a part of an exclusive club of people who are willing to pay $6 for asparagus water (yes that’s a thing). You don’t technically need to be a member of Whole Foods to buy there. But the price tags for buying green are essentially signs that say – Only upper-middle class and above allowed.” 

It’s a reality we all face – buying green isn’t cheap. 

But as long as the prices are high – more consumers aren’t as likely to buy.  How do we begin to fix the gap?

The answer lies in the power of BOTH the consumer and the seller. 

The first step is to realize that as a business, who will never tick ALL the boxes of eco so its best to focus on one. 

It’s not only expensive for you — and thus the customer — it’s not NECESSARY to be perfect. There are a number of factors that make a product “eco.” These include the use of organic materials, fair wages, or fair trade certification.

Focus your efforts on one eco aspect that you feel reflects your company’s mission. Then, you can drive costs down, sell more, and put more eco alternatives in the hands of your customers. 

And buying green is not meant to be expensive, nor limited to a select few who can afford it. 

Sustainability itself comes in many shapes and forms (we don’t all need fancy reusable straws!). There are equally a plethora of products in areas of sustainability that focus on zero-waste and minimalism. These are based on the idea that we can be minimalist in our consumption and spending altogether, such as in these eco-friendly meal kits.

The Harvard Business Review adds that 65 percent of consumers say they want to buy from green, purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability. Yet only about 26 percent actually do so.

Certainly, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room. Some parts of corporate America have sensed a money-making opportunity in the eco-friendly trend. They’ll raise prices on “sustainable” products for no reason other than to add extra green to their pockets.

But there are other reasons for the higher price tag on sustainable products. Higher prices allow companies to pay fair wages and ensure ethical practices for their workers. Since those items aren’t mass produced in a factory, they cost more to manufacture. 

But to really change the system requires changes in green consumer behavior as well as changes in the green product market.

In the same Bloomberg article, Joe Sanberg, a co-founder of a financial firm that lends to sustainable companies, said the ultimate change will arise when there’s a massive demand for eco-friendly products. 

“The more we can make it easy for consumers to pick eco-friendly products, the more there will be a demand for and the more the prices for those products will fall.” 

Something as simple as showing off your eco alternatives can help create and perpetuate a cycle of sustainable change. And it doesn’t necessarily start at doling out $6 for asparagus water.

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