- Yelp introduced new search tools Wednesday to help users find eco-friendly businesses and businesses that have adopted sustainable business practices. According to a company blog post, Yelp is working with the Plastic Pollution Coalition for the initiative.
- The new business attributes highlighted on Yelp's search results and businesses pages are sourced from both business owners and consumers and include information such as "provides reusable tableware;" "bring your own container allowed;" "compostable containers available;" "EV charging station available;" and "plastic-free packaging."
- Yelp said the feature coincides with rising customer interest in sustainability, with searches for "plant-based" increasing by an average of 56% from 2018 to 2021, and searches for "EV charging" increasing by an average of 41% each year.
Yelp's users aren't the only ones who are more mindful of eco-friendly options. New research shows than over 70% of global consumers are actively buying more environmentally-friendly products than they did just five years ago, while more than one-third of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainably-friendly products.
This trend is expected to continue growing as 39% of Generation Z and 42% of millennials, are more actively taking steps toward being more sustainable, according to consultancy firm Simon-Kucher & Partners. That means Yelp should have — and keep — an engaged audience as it introduces these new features.
Yelp has introduced searchable attributes before, including for businesses that are Asian-owned, women-owned, Black-owned and LGBTQ-owned. Guiding consumers to features they're looking for should make their experience easier, while also translating to sales and traffic for the businesses. Thirty-five percent of Yelp users visit a business's website within 24 hours of searching, for example. Yelp's giant footprint, which included 33 million unique users at the end of 2021, could entice more businesses to add more such attributes.
According to The Impact Investor, there are several new apps to help guide consumers toward a more sustainable lifestyle, including apps that help people reduce food waste, but none that are specifically focused on the restaurant business. OpenTable has a list of the best eco-friendly restaurants in the U.S., but it only includes 202 restaurants.
Yelp goes further by allowing businesses to tout their sustainability efforts and make those attributes searchable. Yelp users can find the new eco-friendly attributes on business pages under "amenities and more," while business owners can add these attributes for free to their "business information" section.
The app also added a new Sustainability Resource Hub for businesses, which provides access to information and tools from environmentally-focused nonprofits, including the Plastic Pollution Coalition, Upstream, ReThink Disposable, Reusable LA, Surfrider Foundation, Food Rescue Hero and other organizations.
In its blog, the company said the hub was created to help businesses implement more sustainable amenities since businesses often don't know where to start.
"This collection of resources provides tools to help businesses effectively communicate to consumers how they're giving back to the environment, learn how to adopt more sustainable business practices and get inspired by the efforts of other businesses like theirs," Yelp said.
In addition to sustainable attributes, Yelp also created a list of the top 100 vegan restaurants in the U.S. and is coordinating local events across North America, such as vegan meal experiences, public park cleanups and more.