Consumers need to show willingness to pay for sustainability

The Numi smart toilet by Kohler.

In spite of the pressing need to become “green” and sustainable, not many people are willing to pay a premium to own eco-friendly products.

Mary Reid, vice president – industrial design, Kohler, said while there are people in society who are willing to spend spend a little more and do the right thing, generally speaking it’s hard for people to feel the need to do so.

“We need the pressure to improve our products and do what’s right and people need to put the pressure on the industry and show that they are serious about purchasing,” said Reid.


“I think Kohler’s Numi toilet is an example of where the fundamentals in the product are very important to us going forward, because the technology is important to do things that are more sustainable. Right now, it’s the chicken and the egg because you need technology to make the product more important, but technology costs money until we have the masses participating in that investment,” she added.

John Hart, chief creative officer – interiors, Kohler, said there is a clientele that will pay for sustainability, but it’s a very small portion that will do so. “It’s important that it’s not just driven from a consumer standpoint, but we have a responsibility as companies and governments to push it. We don’t have to necessarily give up the quality of the product for the delivery of the experience at the same time,” he said.

“In any society, there are always those who are the initiators for change and we need them, but it takes time to build the momentum,” Reid added.

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