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Kitty Suidman of audio tech giant Sonos on listening better to consumers and the environment

A range of Sonos products
May 02, 2022 By WGSN Insider
Consumer Tech

Toward the end of 2021, Sonos released its Listen Better Report alongside a climate action plan, which laid out its commitment to a more sustainable future for the business. 

A key figure driving this plan from within is Kitty Suidman, whose role as design director of product sustainability at Sonos places her at the forefront of the brand’s drive to reduce its environmental impact, with a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2040.

Kitty Suidman, design director of product sustainability, Sonos
Kitty Suidman, design director of product sustainability, Sonos

Kitty Suidman joins our podcast alongside Bethan Ryder, WGSN’s Executive Editorial Director, and Lisa Yong, Content Director of WGSN’s Consumer Tech. Together, we discuss what tech brands can do to balance the tightrope of providing cutting-edge products while fulfilling the increasing desire for longevity in products that consumers own.

We also delve into how the structure of a business’s internal hierarchies give sustainability a key role in everything it does and how to approach consumers with sustainability-related language. So tune in as we explore how to listen better with Sonos…

*Sonos will be incorporating its Product Sustainability efforts in all new products launching in 2023. Pictured are existing Sonos products.

Sonos speaker on table

Customer expectations in tech

“The younger the generations get, the more passionate they are about sustainability. When it comes to consumer tech products, consumers are expecting companies to be more responsible and environmentally conscious. 

“They talked a lot about wanting the tech industry to feel more understandable, so the way that they described it was ‘less black box’; what and how does that work within the tech world? 

“They also want companies to have really clear and concise environmental messaging, and they want companies and expect companies to reduce e-waste and innovate, and look for ways to improve the longevity of products.”
– Kitty Suidman, design director of product sustainability, Sonos

Sonos speaker in white
Tim Foster/Unsplash

Consumer-facing language

“We need words to be more precise, right? So that we can communicate better. Not just to ourselves, to our peers, but to the consumers because they’re confused. So ultimately, the language will evolve into a place where we feel comfortable as we have with sustainability. 

“A lot of ways we try to do it within our Consumer Tech vertical is to talk about all these things – design by longevity or more climate-adaptive products or eco materials – and start bringing some of these words in the context of how you explain things.”
– Lisa Yong, Content Director, WGSN Consumer Tech

To hear the full discussion tune into episode 49 of our Create Tomorrow podcast, Listen Better with Kitty Suidman of Sonos, on Anchor, Apple and Spotify.

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