Sustainability policies are as much about what you do within your organisation, as they are about encouraging and supporting the people, clients and suppliers around you.
I recently consulted to a new ethical fashion label (a rare departure from our usual service-based clients) on their sustainability program.
After a long process of finding ethical fabric suppliers and makers with fair work policies, there was a concern about “bracketing” - where buyers purchase multiple sizes of one item with the intention of returning the ones that don’t fit.
Side note: Apparently in the US (one of the worst offenders for bracketing) more than 10% of sales were returned. At a glance that might seem reasonable - but it equated to more than $400 billion - just in returns.
It’s a tricky one to battle against. A “law” against how many products you can buy would make little sense.
There are ways to combat bracketing, like virtual try-ons and being hyper-clear with sizing, but that alone may not necessarily sway people away from bulk-buying-for-trying.
So as a kicking-off point, our client tapped into the concept of “send tiny signals to attract like-minded people”, and went with a mix of mild discouragement, with a slight potential for shame, in their returns policy:
“Please choose your size carefully - we value the environmental impact of our products so please don't purchase multiple items if you intend on returning them purely for sizing purposes.”
It’s a tiny step - but one hopes that the enviro-minded customers drawn to a brand like this are already this way inclined, and only need gentle reminders.
Now for the rest of the planet...!
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