Consumers are purchasing for values more than ever. 83% of consumers say that, when deciding between brands, they’ll always pick the one with a better sustainability record, and 70% are willing to pay more for products and services that help protect the environment or don’t infringe on human rights, according to findings from SONAR, Wunderman Thompson’s proprietary data tool.

With consumers increasingly seeking out brands whose values align with their own, retailers are elevating ethics to make it easy to shop purposefully.

Popular retail platform Brandless now categorizes their products by value. Across verticals, the online retailer offers a ‘shop by values’ feature so buyers can limit their search to products that are biodegradable, compostable, cruelty free, grown in the US or made from recycled materials. This follows the retailer’s 2018 Pop-ups with Purpose, which not only highlighted cruelty-free beauty products and fair-trade coffee, but also featured interactive installations focused on giving back, practicing kindness and making a positive impact on the community, as well as educational stations to teach shoppers about tree-free paper products and the importance of supporting fair wages and safe working conditions.

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Goodee's Montreal pop-up

Luxury retailers are also showcasing the ethics behind their products and brands to appeal to an increasingly conscious consumer base.

Buho is an ethical e-commerce hub that launched in July 2019 with a curated selection of brands that prioritize sustainable practices, gender equality and fair trade. Buho also adheres to high ethical standards in their shipping practices, working with carbon-neutral shipping partners and using compostable packaging materials and plantable seed tags.

Luxury fashion online retailer Net-A-Porter launched Net Sustain, a new vertical dedicated to sustainable brands, in June 2019. The ethical edit features 26 brands and over 500 products which all meet at least one of five sustainability related requirements set out by the retailer covering human, animal and environmental welfare, making it easier for consumers to find brands and products that support their values. “Our aim is to give a voice to the brands that are truly making positive changes by providing them with a platform to highlight their best practice,” said Elizabeth von der Goltz, Net-a-Porter’s global buying director.

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Goodee's Montreal pop-up
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Also in June 2019, fashion veterans Dexter and Byron Peart launched luxury marketplace Goodee, “a trustworthy lifestyle destination for good design and good purpose,” Byron Peart tells Wunderman Intelligence.

“We don’t just want people to shop, we want to cultivate a purpose-driven conversation,” Dexter Peart tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. “People now want to make better choices in their lives and we have created an opportunity for people to engage.”

By elevating ethics alongside aesthetics, Goodee introduces a modern approach to sustainable shopping—and proposes a new formula for the future of luxury retail. “We strongly believe that the brands of the future will be rooted in purpose. There is a change in real time about how luxury is defined. Whereas it previously fell under a price and exclusivity matrix, we think it will shift towards drive and purpose,” says Byron Peart. “Good design and purpose will become the arithmetic to luxury.”

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