Can sustainable brands survive the pandemic?

Tailwind brings you Covid19 insights from GlobalWebIndex, a leading market research company operating in 45 markets inclusive of MENA. Tailwind, a TDG company is the exclusive partner for GlobalWebIndex in the region, bringing to local businesses powerful consumer insights.

Many experts have raised concerns on whether the pandemic, which had a huge effect on both public health and global economies, may permanently halt some of the progress made on climate change issues (source). The biggest fear is that all incredible efforts made before the pandemic to raise awareness on climate change and its effects may be forgotten.

The data from the Wave 4 multinational study (May 19-26, 2020) in 20 countries, suggests that climate change is still a concern for people. When respondents were asked how Covid-19 had changed the importance of cutting down on single-use plastics, reducing carbon footprints, or companies behaving more sustainably 56% cited at least one of these initiatives as having become a lot more important. Additionally, when included those who said that the importance of one of these options had improved at least a little, the percentage rises to 82%.

Comparing with data from our newest Wave 5 (June 29- July 2, 2020) it is for a fact that the climate change concerns won’t go away. In fact, 72% of consumers think that it’s now more important than before for brands to behave more sustainably. When it comes to younger generations as Gen Z, this figure rises to almost 80%.

These actions detailed above are also in line with the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals set by United Nation as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and has been well adopted by Dubai and its citizens. Specifically, in a recent article, Karim El-Jisr, Dubai’s chief sustainability officer discusses how residents of the city should be taking action to protect the environment “…by avoiding unnecessary packaging” or “…install photovoltaic panels on our rooftops and garages, to reduce their carbon footprint”. (source)

Who is the climate change supporter, anyway?

What are the characteristics of a supporter of efforts towards climate change? Our data shows that post-COVID environmentalists* are more likely to be men (55% vs. 45%) and unsurprisingly, of younger age as 62% of Gen Z fall into this group, followed closely behind by 59% of millennials. Additionally, this audience is 1.3 times more likely than the average to be altruists, meaning that they place high importance on contributing to the community they live in; striving for equality; and would pay more for sustainable/eco-friendly products. Furthermore, we observe that post-COVID environmentalists come mostly from middle-income economies (both upper and lower) than of high-income ones, with Italy being the only anomaly to this trend. The majority of middle-income nations are nearer the equator where temperatures are set to rise the most and suffer from variation. Northern, richer countries by contrast, will be affected much less. Comparably, in UAE, although a country which is characterized as a high income-country (source), the fact that the place is near one of the hottest spots in the world, the Tropic of Cancer, makes it even more understandable why they aggressively are taking measures for a more sustainable future (source).