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Sustainable Shift: Redefining Luxury in Today's Consumer Culture

27th February 2024

Sustainability is the new luxury with its emergence reshaping consumer culture as we know it.  

The new definition of luxury already goes beyond mere purchases and acquisitions—it's about  aligning with brands that reflect personal values and make a positive impact on the planet and society.

Luxury brands, once synonymous with exclusivity and prestige, are facing increased commoditisation, competition and accessibility, partially due to globalisation, digitalisation, and changing consumer preferences. This challenges traditional notions of luxury and has called for a redefinition of what constitutes exclusivity in a saturated market.

Research from McKinsey & Company suggests that 70% of all consumers now consider ‘sustainability’ when making purchasing decisions, with environmental concerns ranking highest.  

Also, a Nielsen study suggests that 73% of millennials are willing to spend more on sustainable products. 

This demographic shift is driving an important transition from prioritising price to embracing shared  values, community, and social responsibility.

Now, while several brands are quick to showcase their environmental, social, and governance (ESG)  credentials, consumer awareness is also higher than ever with growing skepticism about the sincerity  of a brand’s efforts and claims, which can often be perceived as high-level image building. 

The true winners? Brands that truly embody a long-term commitment to sustainability with authenticity, transparency, community engagement, and innovation. 

Yet, as sustainability becomes more mainstream, there could be a delicate balance to strike between  accessibility and exclusivity. While wider accessibility is crucial for broader adoption of sustainable  practices, some consumers value the exclusivity associated with sustainable products. 

This tension may call for nuanced strategies from brands to maintain a sense of exclusivity while democratising access to sustainable options.

Brands that have Succeeded in Sustainable Marketing


This footwear company has gained attention for its commitment to sustainability, using  materials like merino wool and eucalyptus fibers in its sustainable products. Allbirds has also implemented innovative practices such as carbon offsetting and using renewable energy in its operations. 


Loop is a groundbreaking initiative that aims to eliminate single-use packaging by offering products in durable, refillable containers. Partnering with leading brands, Loop provides a convenient  and sustainable alternative to traditional packaging, promoting a circular economy model. 


Oatly has shaken up the dairy industry with its oat-based milk alternatives. By prioritising  sustainable products and transparency, Oatly has garnered a loyal following among environmentally  conscious consumers and has successfully challenged the dominance of traditional dairy products in  the market.

These brands represent a diverse range of industries and showcase the growing popularity of  sustainable products. By prioritising environmental and social responsibility, they are not only meeting consumer demand for sustainable options but also challenging traditional business models and industry norms. They also highlight the potential for innovation and impact within their respective industries.

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