2021 positivity: consumers are making more environmentally friendly, sustainable and ethical purchases

Posted on 01/27/2021
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James Martin, Associate Director Global Marketing - FutureBrand talks about a global story of “going local” post-pandemic.

The consequences of the pandemic have been far-reaching, unpredictable and, in many cases, life-changing. As individuals and businesses alike have grappled with the upheaval around them, however, one unlikely beneficiary has thrived – the environment.

With multiple lockdowns forcing us to stay indoors, purchasing habits have had to change dramatically since March. Restrictions on transport, alongside health concerns around frequent movement, have led to a significant reduction in the average consumer journey - literally. This rapid reduction in travel – a great contributor to climate change – has led to a drop in greenhouse gases and pollutants produced by vehicles.

This change will only stick around long-term however if consumers make greater inroads with incremental behaviour changes beyond 2021. The good news is, it looks like they will. A recent report from Accenture found that 60% of consumers were making more environmentally friendly, sustainable or ethical purchases since the pandemic began, with 90% intending to do so long-term.

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In particular, greater consideration of brand provenance and sustainability credentials have seen local or founder-led businesses boom, as consumers look to make more conscious buying decisions.

So, what does that mean for global brands?

Firstly, it means a firm end to the era of greenwashing. Consumers have more time than ever on their hands to research brands – indeed, for many, simply doing a shop has taken on an entirely new cadence, particularly with few other activities to occupy their time.

Secondly, it means a renewed imperative for brands to get to grips with consumers’ local environments. If you are introducing a new recycling initiative – does it really integrate seamlessly into the buyer’s life? Are there local institutions you can partner with to help bring your brand vision to life on a local level?

No matter how global your brand, now is the time to recognise that your consumer’s world has only gotten smaller. And, with it, comes a greater appreciation and consideration of the environment which brands can no longer afford to ignore.

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