Is PIM your new number 1 sustainability tool?

Niels Stenfeldt

There was a time when sustainability was seen as a buzzword. Terms like “transparency” and “eco-friendly” could be used as marketing hooks with little to no supporting evidence. However, those days are over. For brands, manufacturers, and retailers, all the talk about sustainability is increasingly becoming action on sustainability.

Sustainability expectations are constantly evolving, both internally and externally, as the world moves towards a more circular economy. Consumers are looking to make greener buying decisions. Regulators are continuing to tighten sustainability legislation with initiatives like the EU’s digital product passport. Supply chains all over the world are taking their eco-credentials to the next level as they aim for carbon neutrality.

In short, things are changing quickly, and companies need to ensure their data infrastructure and processes are ready for whatever comes their way. That’s why so many brands are tuning into the importance of product information management, or PIM. But how can the right PIM software help you meet these green requirements and become your number one sustainability tool? Let’s take a look.

The size of the sustainability market

First, let’s unpack the business case behind sustainability. Put simply, it doesn’t matter what they’re buying, sustainability is fast becoming a key issue for B2C and B2B consumers around the world. A recent e-commerce study by inriver, Inside the Mind of an Online Shopper, found sustainability to be a key driver for buying decisions for the majority of UK (69%) and German (71%) consumers – and growing in importance across the US.

Sustainability is even starting to influence how much buyers will pay for a product. A study by Forbes found that consumers from all generations are willing to pay more for sustainable products – and the sentiment is growing across every age cohort. For example, from 2019 to 2022, the percentage of Gen X customers who would pay a 10% premium for sustainable products rose from 34% to 90%.

The market pressures for sustainability don’t just stop with the end user, either. As the number of regulations on sustainability grow across all markets and geographies, B2B and B2C consumers will be seeking products that are compliant with local legislation. Goods that don’t offer transparent data on issues like supply chain emissions and material extraction will no longer be a viable option for many buyers, who will instead choose vendors who meet all regulatory requirements.

Building trust in sustainability credentials

With sustainability now one of the most influential issues of our time, it’s understandable that so many companies are keen to be part of the conversation. However, brands need to tread a fine line when it comes to their eco-credentials. According to 2022 data from Forrester, just 28% of US and 30% of European adults believe they can trust companies who promise climate action. Couple that with the fact that 68% of US executives admit their company is guilty of greenwashing, i.e., exaggerating or misrepresenting the positive environmental impact of their actions.

Faced with statistics like this, it’s clear that brands and manufacturers face an uphill battle to instill trust in their customers. However, hope is not lost for companies looking to take their sustainability to the next level. Global brands like New Balance, Akzo Nobel, and Victorinox are proactive about publicizing their commitments to sustainability without worrying about claims of greenwashing. That’s because these household brand names rely on the single source of transparent data that PIM provides.

Why PIM is the number 1 sustainability tool

Product information management software is not a recent innovation. For years, PIM software has been providing a single source of truth for brands looking to digitize their processes and elevate their e-commerce operations. However, with demands for product information constantly evolving, forward-thinking brands and manufacturers require more clarity from their product information if they want to meet expectations from consumers and regulators in every market and geography.

This is where the right PIM solution can make all the difference. By expanding the scope of PIM to support the entire product journey – from sourcing to selling and all the way through to recycling – brands and manufacturers can rely on PIM to collect, manage, and distribute sustainability data in a transparent and accessible manner. They can then use the single source of truth their PIM provides to meet sustainability expectations at every stage of their product’s journey.

Let’s look at the example of the forthcoming digital product passports, an EU-led initiative aimed at promoting supply chain transparency as we move towards circularity. This will require brands to provide more upstream information than ever before, including data on raw material origin and extraction, the carbon footprint of extraction and manufacturing processes, and recycling processes. By expanding the use cases of PIM both upstream and downstream from the sales process to collect, manage, and distribute this sustainability data across more channels and audiences, brands will be able to remain compliant with new legislation and meet expectations from consumers.

PIM: the complete software solution

It’s not just sustainability that’s a growing concern, for brands, manufacturers, and retailers. The expectations of modern commerce, such as omnichannel selling and personalized customer experience, are also pressing issues. However, they don’t need to be with the right PIM solution. Inriver offers the most complete PIM solution on the market, with built-in API-based syndication capabilities and digital shelf analytics technology, giving users total control over all their digital channels from a single centralized platform.

An advanced PIM solution like the inriver PIM offers brands more transparency, flexibility and opportunities today and tomorrow. Brands can capture more data points, syndicate that data to more endpoints, and meet expectations of more audiences. This gives them a competitive, first-mover advantage and turns every touchpoint into a potential profit maker. If you’re interested in learning more about the transformative impact the inriver PIM could have on all areas of your business, visit today or book a guided demo with one of our PIM experts.

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