Sustainable Living: Small Steps, Big Impact

Trends / Sustainability
Catherine Falls Commercial
Davina Ajana
Jun 27, 2024
Sustainability is a new visual standard in advertising and business communications for today's consumers. With rising climate anxiety and daily struggles to balance the cost of living with green values, consumers are looking increasingly to brands for leadership and guidance as trust in government action is increasingly found wanting. Our recent Getty Images' VisualGPS research reveals that 69% feel that the government could be doing more to set policies to combat climate change. So, how can brands use visual storytelling to engage consumers around sustainable action? 
Circular economy
After‑purchase behaviors and product lifecycles are becoming increasingly important as Getty Images’ VisualGPS research shows that reusing, repairing or purchasing second‑hand instead of buying new is now routine for nearly half of Europeans. Retail fashion companies for example are closing the loop by using resources wisely and minimizing waste. Businesses such as Save your Wardrobe 1 and Vinted,2 hope to make consumers more aware of their after‑purchase behaviours and this closed‑loop system can give retailers a competitive edge as consumer demand for truly sustainable options grows.3

Long‑life products emphasising modularity and repairability are also becoming increasingly common. For example, in the consumer technology sector, Nokia’s G22 4 and Kibu headphones, 5 are all designed to be easily built, repaired and recycled.

When selecting visuals, consider storytelling that helps depict the circular economy and inspires action. Focus on small sustainable moments that consumers can adopt in their day to day. For example, showing moments around recycling or the sharing economy such as composting and organic waste recycling, bike and car sharing and refill and reuse stations.
Cleaner energy visualised 
Getty Images VisualGPS research reveals that concerns for the environment are influencing cleaner energy choices, but cost remains a barrier. While 68% of Europeans are reducing their household’s gas and energy consumption for environmental reasons, 83% of consumers would adopt a sustainable lifestyle if it cost them the same or less than what they are paying today.

Visuals that show more cost‑effective cleaner energy choices across all income levels can help consumers understand how to take positive action.  Consider visuals that show better transitions such as more sustainable ways to wash clothes with cold water washes and air drying or heating homes with cleaner energy, heat pumps and smart metering. 
Video credits: 1356214444, Maskot
[1] Save Your Wardrobe
[2] The Times
[3] Deloitte
[4] HMD
[5] Kibu 

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