TikTok is on the rise, and for a good reason.
It’s addicting, fun, and a great way to connect with people worldwide. But beyond all of that, TikTok has also become a powerful tool for promoting critical issues, like sustainability. You read that right—the short form video app initially used by younger generations is now helping drive the cause of sustainability forward in ways we never thought possible.
As supply chain managers, you may ask, what does this trend have to do with me? Especially since the focus of your job is how to improve purchasing and operations.
Well, nowadays, consumers are even more concerned with sustainability due to the videos they watch—especially when there are over 500 million users watching #sustainability Tiktoks. And many huge brands are hopping on the platform to speak to those audiences directly, with overwhelming success.
So, let us further explain why you should not turn away from TikTok and how it applies to your company.
Many organisations already promote their sustainability initiatives on their social media accounts, like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. What sets TikTok apart from other social media is that it truly encourages and teaches its viewers how to become sustainable in their own ways.
Tiktok users do this by following trends and creating a space where viewers can discuss becoming sustainable. Sometimes brands or celebrities start these trends, but plenty of consumers do as well. It’s a great way to amplify your message and get more eyes on your campaigns.
Let’s look at some of the most notable sustainability trends in TikTok.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, a group of young creators founded “EcoTok” to campaign for a more sustainable world. While initially it was targeted to the app’s younger audiences, now TikTok users of all ages are joining in. The main objective of EcoTok is to educate users about sustainability, climate action, and the environment.
The EcoTok community is a place to start the conversation on climate change and sustainability. But to fully grasp the situation, creators also emphasise providing scientific resources and teaching people about media literacy. Apart from that, they also create trends that encourage users to actually enact change.
Check the videos under #ecotok or the @eco_tok account, and you’ll see creators sharing many ways to become more sustainable and discussing anything related to environmental issues. The content speaks about tons of topics, like greenwashing, eco-friendly packaging, and public transportation, among many others.
With more TikTok creators sharing information on the importance of sustainability, brands can no longer ignore the issue. Especially when 88% of consumers expect and want brands to help create a more eco-friendly world.
TikTok and sustainable fashion have something in common: After a period of being embraced by a few, they’ve both catapulted so thoroughly into the mainstream that they’re now unavoidable.
On TikTok, the hashtag #SustainableFashion has garnered over 1.5 billion viewsーand it continues to increase. Under this popular hashtag, users share their own sustainable style hacks. The most common videos focus on upcycling, secondhand shopping, and thrifting. A handful of creators also share educational content that teaches viewers things like how to spot greenwashing, what to look for in thrift stores, and fixing your worn out clothes.
If brands want to remain relevant in the fashion industry, they need to take more significant strides to promote sustainability in their products. Data shows that by 2025, the Global Ethical Fashion Market is expected to reach $8.3 billion USD.
The Increase in Sustainable Brands Around the World
It doesn’t just stop with TikTok trends, brands are already responding to the increased demand for sustainability. From clothing to cars, global brands are promoting sustainability in their products and in their daily business operations.
This means that transparency throughout the supply chain is becoming all the more critical. It’s only by giving the full picture of your entire operation that your business can build trust with its consumers, assuring them of credible and sustainable products.
Here are just a few brands that are pushing forward sustainability in their operations.
Levi’s “Buy Better, Wear Longer” campaign
On Earth Day last year, Levi’s launched its “Buy Better, Wear Longer” campaign, encouraging Gen Zs to reuse, repurpose, and reduce consumer footprints. In addition, the campaign addresses the issue of the increasing global clothing consumption that doubled in the last 15 years.
The campaign hashtag #buybetterlivelonger now has over 112 million views on TikTok. When scrolling through the vidoes, you can see people showcasing their Levi’s jeans and why they choose the brand in their journey to sustainability. Many Tiktok users also praise the high-quality material used in Levi’s. This gives their brand positive association with sustainability and makes them a perfect choice for upcycling.
Apart from that, Levi’s also created a playlist of Denim Hacks on TikTok. The content includes topics such as teaching consumers how to remove stains or gums on their jeans, so they are still good as new一and that the jeans don’t actually go to the dumpster.
In 2020, Levi’s also rolled out a transformative new operating model that helps them create a more sustainable supply chain. The new model replaces manual techniques with automation to reduce labour costs. Plus, it helps them reduce the number of chemical formulations they need in the jeans finishing process from thousands to a few dozen.
Levi’s has also become more transparent on how they’re addressing the environmental issues that come with producing high-quality jeans. An example is the company’s use of cotton. In fact, roughly 91% of its products are cotton-based. By working with farmers who grow cotton sustainably, they’re helping the environment by reducing water and chemical use.
Moreover, they are also looking into sourcing natural fibres and synthetic fibres sustainably to achieve the smallest possible carbon footprint in their supply chain.
As Levi’s has become more transparent with their supply chain, users are more comfortable promoting its products to social media apps. Through this, the brand gets free marketing while increasing trust and loyalty with its customer base.
Hyundai’s Sustainable Vehicles
In recent years, Hyundai has been making its mark in the production of sustainable vehicles. For example, a few years ago the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy included 3 of Hyundai’s cars in its list of the Greenest Vehicles of 2019. Recently, Hyundai also released its 2021 Sustainability Report to showcase its efforts in establishing a smart mobility ecosystem and pursuing eco-friendly value throughout the product lifecycle.
And when live events were restricted during the pandemic, Hyundai turned to social media to launch its cars. The company announced that it will introduce 3 electric vehicles (EV) by 2022, meeting the shifting consumer demand regarding sustainability in transportation post-pandemic. In fact, Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance report shows that electric vehicles will reach 10% of global passenger vehicle sales by 2025, 28% by 2030, and up to 58% by 2040.
The production of their EVs is the company’s biggest effort in using zero fossil fuels and eco-friendly materials in their product. For example, the leather used in IONIQ 5 is dyed with vegetable oil extracted from linseed. When it comes to manufacturing, Hyundai also uses eco-friendly fibres like thread made of pulverized sugar cane, polyester, and recycled plastic.
Consumers are now more conscious of sustainability across all industries. From fashion to transportation, brands have to highlight their efforts in becoming more eco-friendly. When it comes to production and manufacturing products, that’s where you can step in to help your company be more transparent and boost trust with your customers.
Embrace Sustainability In Your Business
From a single platform alone, you can already see the heightened concern about sustainability across every generation. And that’s having a powerful effect and influence on consumer spending.
TikTok and other social media apps will continue to produce content that educates users on the impact of climate change and what individuals can do to help fight it. As more consumers come to expect sustainability, brands worldwide are becoming more transparent about their supply chain. And to remain relevant in this social media-driven society, you need to start sourcing sustainably.
Not sure how to start?
Good for Life is an expert when it comes to sustainable sourcing. We can help you partner with sustainable suppliers that align with your company’s core values. Currently, we work with suppliers across 32 countries to ensure that you achieve your goal of a sustainable supply chain.
Start sourcing sustainably and remain relevant in the industry. Contact us today!