The single biggest sustainability issue for bathroom manufacturers and suppliers is convincing consumers that it needs to be a part of their project.
That was the view of Tom Reynolds, CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, speaking at the organisation’s annual conference earlier this week.
“We can innovate and make products that are more and more water and energy efficient all the time, but unless there’s a market for them then we’re always going to struggle. That’s the biggest sustainability challenge in our sector, we can be as willing as we want and move forward in terms of products, but unless our markets are willing too, it’s going to be really hard.”
Reynolds’ comments came after it was revealed that new research shows that consumers believe responsibility for sustainability sat with the manufacturers and not them.
Jane Blakeborough, research director for Trend Monitor, said that simply asking consumers if they were interested in buying sustainability wasn’t enough.
“It’s a question we always ask and the answer is always ‘yes, we think it’s very important’,” she said. “However, in our latest research, we did it slightly differently. We asked them to put sustainability and water efficiency into context with the products they actually wanted to buy and, specifically, where the responsibility sat – was it with them? The retailer? The fitter? Or the manufacturer?
“And it was very clear that in the consumer’s mind the responsibility sits with the manufacturer. We also know through behavioural research that whatever a consumer says they might want to do when it comes to sustainability, when they shut the door to their bathroom they will do whatever they want and whatever is easiest for them.
“Their habits are not sustainable, so we need to find out how to influence that behaviour. So you can talk all you like about sustainability and put out loads of sustainable products, but what powers bathroom purchases is a series of habits and we need to change those habits.”
In January, a roundtable of bathroom retailers told The kbbreview Podcast that sustainability was rarely raised by clients if at all. They also said that they also believed responsibility lay with the manufacturer and not them.
Listen to the full episode using the player below.