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This week’s cause for thought looks at the huge rise in demand for sustainable goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each week we post the latest information about ongoing environmental and social crises around the world. Our goal is for companies to read, consider, and be made aware of the causes they could potentially support. This weeks’ topic is aimed at companies in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, fashion, and food sectors.

With Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns increasing work and financial insecurities for many of us, you might think that we have had to quietly drop our ethical and environmental concerns when shopping.

However, numerous reports and studies have in fact shown that the opposite is true, and that coronavirus has focused our minds on helping to create a better, healthier world.

Global research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), commissioned by WWF, shows a staggering 71% rise in popularity of searches for sustainable goods over the past five years, with continuing growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report titled “An Eco-wakening: Measuring global awareness, engagement and action for nature” shows a surge in consumer clicks for sustainable goods in high-income countries, such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Canada. However, the trend goes beyond these economies and is accelerating in developing and emerging ones - like Ecuador (120%) and Indonesia (24%). This is creating new market opportunities for companies, particularly in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, fashion and food sectors.

Sheila Bonini, senior vice president of private sector engagement at WWF, said:

“Sustainable and planet-friendly products used to be a niche market. Today, that’s no longer the case - This research backs up what we’ve seen anecdotally over the years—demand is there.”

The report, which analyzes data from 2016-2020, measures engagement, awareness, and action for nature in 27 languages, across 54 countries, covering 80% of the world’s population. Public interest in and concern for nature has risen markedly (16%) in the past five years and has continued to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic. People all over the world, particularly in emerging markets, are increasingly aware of the environmental planetary crisis, and this is affecting their behavior in a new movement WWF is calling an ‘eco-wakening’.

Individuals are acting on their concerns and demanding action. The report shows a 65% rise in the volume of Twitter posts related to biodiversity and nature loss—increasing from 30 million to 50 million —in the last four years. It also finds that year on year, growing concern about the universal threat to nature has been working its way up the media agenda. In 2019, global news coverage of environmental protests increased by 103%, in part due to the rise of global activism as increasing numbers of people campaigned for leaders to take action.

Are we seeing an ethical and environmental consumer revolution that is here to stay?

It's clear that consumption is looking very different than it did. Consumers are now in the driver’s seat; existing research shows that consumers not only say they want companies to do better when it comes to supporting the environment, but they are changing their behavior in support of these beliefs. This is shifting profit pools, challenging historically high returns in some areas, while opening billion-dollar opportunities in others.

Sheila Bonini, senior vice president of private sector engagement at WWF, added:

“Thankfully many companies are answering this call, either by offering more responsible products or, even better, transforming their entire value chain to prioritize the environment. From sourcing to production, consumers want to trust that what they buy is sustainable.
"For companies that aren’t yet there, this research proves that it’s time to act or be left behind in the marketplace.”

So how can switching to sustainable products improve your social media strategy?

Environmental issues have been of major concern in recent years, and have caused consumers (your audience) to think more critically about the origins, content, and manufacturing processes of the products they buy.

So, integrating the fact you sell sustainable products into your campaigns and content will enhance your audience’s engagement with your brand; boosting customer acquisition and strengthening the sustainability of your business.

To start you on your journey into sustainability - ask yourself these questions:

  • How can my organisation play a critical role in driving change and demonstrating care for nature?

  • Can I commit to sourcing practices that protect biodiversity?

  • How can my brand make and keep substantial sustainability commitments?

  • Can I commit to sourcing sustainably produced raw materials?

If you're interested in finding out more about integrating supporting a cause into your social media strategy, please give us a shout and we’ll be happy to go through the finer points with you.

Yours ethically,

Click Ethical blog squad



Telephone: 07972 243 027

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