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World Retail Congress: Sustainability needs a makeover

Sustainability needs a makeover if it is to appeal to millennial shoppers, said Ayana Parsons, head of retail and consumer goods at the World Economic Forum, at today’s World Retail Congress.

Parsons called on businesses to “channel the power of this generation” and help millennials make more sustainable decisions.

She said research from the World Economic Forum has found many shoppers are confused, sceptical and find it a challenge to shop sustainable products. However, she said consumers are willing to pay more if they know a product has come from a sustainable company.

Citing the millennial consumer as one that “wants to change the world”, Parsons said retailers need to make sustainable shopping easy and exciting in order to appeal to this customer. She used Marks & Spencer’s Swapping campaign as an example of how this can be done.

Parsons told delegates the right opportunities don’t exist for consumers to engage with sustainable products, but if retailers can help shoppers understand why sustainability matters and engage them in the conversation, there is an opportunity to encourage millions of millennials to live sustainably.

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