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The Business Trend That's Transforming Consumer Expectations - Regeneration

Updated: Jul 9

When did you last choose a product based on its "sustainability" claims? For a growing number of consumers, that's no longer enough. Enter regeneration – the business movement redefining what it means to be a responsible brand in the 21st century.


People putting plants into the ground.
Photo: Adobe

According to a 2019 survey by ReGenFriends, a staggering 80% of American shoppers now prefer brands that go beyond merely minimizing harm to actively restoring and revitalizing the environment and communities [1]. This shift is particularly evident among younger consumers, with nearly 60% of those under 30 considering a brand's regenerative practices when purchasing [2].


"Regeneration goes beyond sustainability by creating a deeper and wider socio-economic impact," explains Navi Radjou, author of The Frugal Economy [3]. "Sustainable brands strive just to do less harm to the planet. Regenerative businesses go beyond sustainability and vie to do more good to society and the planet."


The trend of regeneration is not limited to a single industry, but is manifesting across various sectors. For instance, Brazilian cosmetics company Natura partners with Amazonian tribes to ethically source murumuru butter, using traditional farming practices that protect biodiversity and boost local incomes. Similarly, sports retailer Decathlon has launched 'Stores as Nature' across France, transforming retail locations into havens for native flora and fauna. These examples illustrate how regeneration is being implemented in real-world business scenarios.


The shift towards regeneration isn't just about environmental impact, however. It's also about investing in the health and well-being of communities. For example, Japanese life insurance firm Meiji Yasuda has adopted a "life regeneration" model, with sales representatives serving as wellness coaches and collaborating with local governments to improve public health outcomes [3].


Embracing regeneration isn't just a moral imperative for businesses, it's a strategic financial move. Research indicates that consumers are increasingly willing to pay a premium for products and services that align with their values [4]. By investing in regenerative practices, companies cannot only tap into this growing market but also build long-term resilience and value for all stakeholders, making it a smart business decision.


As Raphael Bemporad, founding partner of brand consultancy BBMG, puts it: "The confluence of a health pandemic, a social and racial justice uprising, and the threats of climate change have us thinking about the role that food plays in our lives and how we might design food economies, food systems, food cultures, and ultimately food businesses to serve humanity better and nourish our planet" [4].


In a world grappling with climate change, social inequity, and economic uncertainty, the rise of regenerative brands offers more than just a glimpse of a hopeful future. It presents a vision where business is a force for good, and consumers have the power to drive positive change with every purchase, thereby contributing to the betterment of society as a whole.


Sources:


  1. ReGenFriends, 2019 survey, as cited in Forbes

  2. Forbes, "Regeneration For Brands—Why It's Bigger Than You Might Think" by Camille Nicita, 2024

  3. World Economic Forum, "Regeneration: Why businesses are moving beyond sustainability and thinking about regrowth" by Navi Radjou, 2024

  4. Fast Company, "Chasing sustainability is the wrong goal. These 'regenerative' businesses are moving beyond the status quo" by Esha Chhabra [4]

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