For nearly ten years, Tessa Wulff Lothian has worked as store manager for Naturkompaniet in Stockholm, where she has witnessed a quantum leap in customer awareness of product sustainability.

“Where is it made? who makes it? How’s it made? What’s it made of? We get asked questions today that weren’t on anybody’s mind a decade ago. Along with this development – and often at the forefront of it – are the brands and suppliers that are pushing the boundaries of responsibility, forcing the competitors to follow suit.

While some brands may go overboard with tags and leaflets that list all the product’s certifications, we try not to offer a chemistry lesson to our customers or bamboozle them with facts. Sustainability needs to be part of a package together with a product’s quality and attractiveness. Fortunately, many forward-thinking brands seem to have no problem uniting all three aspects, and the brands that don’t are increasingly seen by customers as low quality, disposable wear.

We at Naturkompaniet have also taken our responsibility seriously. We’ve been green before green was cool, and the development in customer awareness has only served to strengthen our market position. It’s survival of the fittest for us, and brands that aren’t ardently pursuing sustainability won’t make it past our doorstep. Our customers know this and they know exactly where to go.

I don’t believe that this is simply a trend – quite the opposite. I believe that sustainability is on its way to becoming the topic of conversation. Nor do I think that as a company we can simply relax and be content with what we’ve achieved. We should never settle for second best, and must always seek to raise the bar just a little bit higher.”

Jonathan Fraenkel-Eidse
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