May 14th 2020
The rise of eco-consumerism and how to leverage this through the affiliate channel
With climate change being referred to as "the defining crisis of our time" by the UN, and, the world's governments, businesses and societies urged to take action to stem the irrefutable tide, it is no surprise that sustainability has entered the psyche of consumer consideration.


In their "Pinterest 100 report" Pinterest revealed that conscious consumption was one of the top 10 cultural themes searched for on their platform and as a result, they have earmarked it as a key trend for 2020. In addition to this, a recent survey conducted by IBM found that 6/10 consumers are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact and 8/10 indicated that sustainability is important to them.


Many brands have already taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint and be more accountable. However, some brands are unsure of how they can make an impact and gain momentum. The affiliate channel is a great way to spread awareness of your sustainable offering, find ways to contribute and connect with consumers who share these values.


How might this look I hear you ask? Here are three examples of ways brands can use affiliate marketing to tap into sustainably conscious consumers.


1. Spread the word

Tom's, a brand best known for their One for One™ scheme where they match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes for a child in need, is the perfect example of a brand already using the affiliate channel to reach sustainably conscious consumers. Tom's supplies its affiliates with inspirational and emotive content which they then share across their platforms. Their affiliate program is a ready to use cost-effective marketing channel that reaches sustainably conscious consumers who want to play their part in helping protect our world.

If your brand is already taking steps to be more sustainable, sharing content around this with partners to use on their websites via an affiliate program is an easy way to reach new audiences and increase awareness.


2. Pay it forward

For brands wanting to do more, the affiliate channel is a great way to encourage a sustainably-minded audience to make a purchase by offering the consumer the opportunity to support a specific cause alongside their purchase.

For example, brands such as eBay allow customers to donate cashback, they have earned to causes they care about by partnering with Loyalty affiliates such as Give as You Live and Easyfundraising via their affiliate program.

In addition to consumers making donations, we have also seen brands donating their earnings to specific sustainable endeavours during busy retail periods and promoting this via the affiliate channel. For example, in 2019,  Patagonia - whose affiliate program is aimed at affiliates who share their passion for adventure and environmental stewardship - chose to donate 100% of their Black Friday earnings to environmental groups.


3. Create a community

In today's society, a large portion of our free time is spent engrossed in social media with many of us engaging in content created by social influencers. The Digital Marketing Institute state that 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations when making purchases and that consumers found influencers more relatable than traditional celebrities.

Beauty brand The Body Shop is a great example of a brand utilizing influencers via its affiliate program to create a community of like-minded individuals seeking sustainable beauty.  Through its affiliate partnership with Influencer Network RewardStyle, The Body Shop has been able to work with influencers focused on creating content on sustainable beauty products.

By partnering with influencers who promote sustainable values, brands can tap into their highly engaged and loyal audiences and gain a level of consumer trust they may not see via other marketing channels. Increasing overall conversion rates and consumer lifetime value all on a pay-on-performance model.

Many sustainably-focused retailers are already using their affiliate program to cost-effectively scale their reach via like-minded affiliates. These partners are helping them strengthen their reputation for responsible consumption and social responsibility and reach new customers who are also motivated by those values. Via affiliate marketing a brand can reach new consumer groups, all while being able to control who they work with, how, where and measure how effective those relationships are regarding return on investment.

You can discover more about the latest retail trends brands are focusing on in their affiliate programme on our blog.


Joanna Kenny is an Account Manager at Acceleration Partners


Author: Joanna Kenny