This week is #WaterSavingWeek – UWLA MD Yvonne Orgill shares her views on how retailers can engage with their customers about saving water, and make them feel good about using our resources wisely.
"As we begin another Water Saving Week, it is clear that the message is more urgent than ever before; we all need to value water and work together to help consumers think about their current habits, and be more aware of how much water they use.
"Lifestyle and behaviour changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as climate change, have all contributed to increasing the pressure on our water supply – we must all make changes if we are to protect the water supply for future generations.
"Retailers have a direct interface with the consumer, which presents them with a unique opportunity to influence and educate consumers on the options available. They are well placed to promote the many innovative products that carry the Unified Water Label. The label provides clear and easy to understand information about water and energy consumption, but there is so much more retailers can do to inspire consumers.
"As with any successful sale, it is about understanding and communicating the benefits, rather than the features. In order to do this, retailers should present water-efficient products as a positive choice, and be able to demonstrate with facts and figures how the consumer can save money and benefit the environment. There is plenty of information available from the UWLA, manufacturers and other organisations such as The Energy Saving Trust. Having this information available, keeping it simple to understand and prominent in the showroom, will encourage interest and conversation with customers.
"Most good retailers take the time to discover information about their customer’s lifestyle, understanding what they want from their products. This helps the retailer advise on which are the best purchases for them. A retailer who can understand and compare the relative merits of different water-efficient products will also be helping customers make more informed choices. Retailers also have a responsibility to clearly demonstrate that water-efficient products are also stylish, and do not come with any loss in performance.
"However, selecting a water-efficient product is only the beginning of the journey. Once it is installed in the home, traditional habits and a failure to understand the value of water, can mean that water is still wasted. Recent surveys show that most households underestimate hugely how much water they think they use. Bathroom products are at the heart of water use in the home, with over 60% of water used in the domestic environment being used in the bathroom, and 25% of energy used in the home is associated with heating hot water.
"If change is to happen we must all work together to share more statistics and illustrate what happens when water is used in the home without any care or thought as to how it is being used."
The UWLA has produced an information sheet for retailers to help them understand the benefits and are also promoting a #dontforgettheplug campaign over the next three months to build awareness. The campaign entitled ‘PLUG’ is based around a slogan of #DontForgetThePlug and includes four key messages:
Promote the benefits of reducing water wastage
Link water, energy and carbon issues
Understand how much water is used
Gain from commercial advantage
The information sheet and more information about the #dontforgettheplug campaign and the Unified Water Label can be found here.