In recent years, it’s become more popular – even essential – for businesses to commit to sustainable practices.  With 76 percent of young consumers expressing concern for climate change, sustainability has been at the forefront of thoughts on the future for all industries. Road transport itself accounts for 15 percent of all global CO2 emissions, presenting an opportunity for companies to minimize this effect by investing in more sustainable delivery options.

Claiming your business is sustainable can be a gray area for both the brand and the consumer: are you simply using recycled packaging? Using electric vehicles? Offsetting carbon emissions? There are many factors that influence a brand’s ability to stay sustainable.

Forbes has defined sustainability as “providing for the present needs without compromising the needs of the future generations to meet theirs.” The definition is broad, but for the purposes of this analysis, we can judge brands’ commitment to sustainability based on their attention to the impact of their business practices.

As younger generations rally behind climate change and continue to demand more sustainable practices when purchasing, it is clear that companies need to embrace a sustainable business model in order to maintain their competitive edge. The question that remains is, how can businesses leverage sustainability to meet a variety of consumer preferences?

Generational Habits

It’s clear that there is a generational response to sustainability across the many generations with buying power today:

Consumers 18-24: Gen Z

It’s no surprise that 62 percent of Gen Z-ers point to sustainability being an important aspect of purchasing behavior, along with a similar receptiveness to subscription-based services. What is surprising from a generation still establishing itself in today’s job market is the financial commitment behind the desire for sustainable business practices. Of Gen Z respondents, 73 percent stated that they are comfortable paying more for sustainably sourced products.

Consumers 25-40: Millennials (aka Gen Y)

Millennials’ purchasing habits mirror their younger counterparts, agreeing that sustainability is an important deciding factor in purchasing from a brand. Now fully established, Millennials have the buying power to support sustainable business models, and 85 percent of millennials revealed that quality of the product is their first concern when purchasing, closely followed by environmental concerns at 71 percent.

Consumers 41-56: Gen X

Currently at the height of their careers, Gen X carries a significant amount of spending power, with some noting that this spending power is the true driver of a shift toward sustainable shopping. Over half of Gen X consumers coincide with millennial and Gen Z’s preference on buying from sustainable brands, with a focus on cutting carbon emissions and eliminating single-use plastic packaging. Lastly, 84 percent of Gen X revealed an expectation for brands to become more sustainable in the future, further displaying their contributions to this shift in consumer preferences.

Sustainability Best Practices

There are many ways to instill sustainable practices in business, such as:

  • Create a transparent sustainable strategy: Align your business goals with that of sustainable practices, and communicate this strategy to all major stakeholders.
  • Engage your employees: incentivize greener habits in the workplace and encourage employee efforts and ideas toward sustainability.
  • Partner with green organizations: work alongside those that are already in the race toward sustainability via charitable donations, fundraisers, and other initiatives.
  • Challenge your supply chain options: Your company can reduce its carbon footprint through its sourcing, production, delivery, waste and even packaging by making it greener.

Sustainability in the World of Meal Kit Delivery

Let’s take a dive into the world of meal kit delivery and how it can play its part in promoting sustainability. Food production is responsible for at least 26 percent  of carbon emissions, and with public awareness of its impact increasing, meal kit delivery services are becoming more popular.

With this growing demand, logistics and organization in terms of delivery are a constant concern. There are solutions to increase efficiency and maintain sustainability, which we can witness from valuable players in the industry:

1. Sunbasket

Stating that “Healthy meals should taste good first and do good always,” Sunbasket has combined two important values- quality and sustainability.

  • Ingredients: The company capitalizes on a sustainable approach by providing fresh, USDA organic ingredients that are pre-portioned to minimize food waste.
  • Packaging: It has even extended its commitment to sustainability to almost 100% recycled packaging.
  • Delivery: First company to offer direct-to-consumer delivery (via InstaCart) which has proven to be sustainable by cutting out the middleman and lowering costs.
  • Community impact: Participates in donations to food banks, eliminating food waste.

2. Green Chef

With a 100 percent carbon emissions and plastic offset, it’s no wonder why Green Chef is the self-proclaimed #1 Sustainable Meal Kit. Here’s a breakdown of Green Chef’s best practices:

  • Ingredients: Green Chef’s meals use mostly sustainably sourced organic ingredients.
  • Packaging: First Meal Kit to use ClimaCell, a revolutionary styrofoam replacement.
  • Delivery: Offer specified delivery dates with a subscription plan to consolidate and shorten delivery routes.
  • Community impact: Partners with many sustainability organizations, such as TerraPass, to ensure quality in packaging and ingredients.

3. HelloFresh

One of the more well-known brands, HelloFresh prides itself in being 100 percent carbon neutral. Its efforts toward sustainability contribute to a 25 percent lower carbon footprint of meal kit delivery in comparison to store bought groceries.

  • Ingredients: full transparency in where the food is coming from and farm-fresh ingredients
  • Packaging: Fully recyclable packaging
  • Delivery: Efficient delivery and shorter supply chain systems
  • Community impact: A clear partnership with communities all over the world, including PlasticBank in Indonesia which will recycle 1.6 million pounds of plastic in just one year.

How Can Fluid Truck Help My Business Increase Its Sustainability Practices?

We too are taking steps to make transportation more sustainable for businesses big and small. Fluid Truck presents the opportunity to sustain a sharing economy, meaning that all vehicles are being used at an optimal capacity, eliminating the excess of vehicles on the road. Furthermore, Fluid Truck’s proprietary technology engages in driver tracking and route optimization to increase fuel efficiency. We have even begun to work with EVs, with plans to expand this model.  

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