The news that Iceland is set to remove plastic in all its own brand products and Theresa May has promised to eliminate the UK’s plastic waste by 2042 are most certainly steps in the right direction, but momentum needs to pick up – fast.

Consumers are growing increasingly concerned about environmental issues and are over 58% more likely to pay for products from socially and environmentally responsible companies. Consumers want to see fashion crafted from recycled plastic, packaging made from recycled materials and incentives being given for recycling, and brands are responding with clean, safe and sustainable products to benefit the planet – distinguishing them from the competition in the process.

Procter & Gamble’s new Fairy bottle is one just one example, made from 10% ocean plastic, collected from the seas and beaches around the world, and 90% post-consumer recycled plastic. And Coca Cola’s new ‘World Without Waste’ packaging vision forms an integral part of their business strategy, publishing a goal to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one they sell and investing in developing 100% recyclable bottles.

The drive for sustainability is also pushing the boundaries in innovation; the Adidas Parley shoe has been given the Stella McCartney touch and made from plastic debris found in the ocean, IKEA has launched a kitchen made from recycled plastic bottles and reclaimed wood, and, closer to home, our client ReFood, which is at the cutting edge of food waste recycling, has found a way to divert food waste materials from landfill to create renewable energy and fertiliser – showing that sustainable business makes great business sense.

In fact, Unilever recently estimated a potential £830bn market for sustainable products – which is why its purchase of organic Pukka Herbs and SC Johnson’s intention to buy Method and Ecover from People Against Dirty should come as no surprise…

One thing’s for certain, whatever the size of a company, there will be challenges on the long road to sustainability, such as changing systems, production lines and stakeholder mindsets to name a few, but payoff for businesses could be huge… not to mention our planet.