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Has the Pandemic Changed Our Outlook on Sustainability?

2020 has been a rude awakening to say the least. Apart from the novel coronavirus, this year has also seen some of the deadliest climate catastrophes take place across the globe. From wildfires to cyclones, hurricanes to flooding and possibly the highest temperatures reliably recorded on Earth. The silver lining amid this chaos? Global momentum around sustainability is finally growing louder.

A recent survey by the Boston Consulting Group investigated how the pandemic has shifted global consumer attitudes toward environmental issues. 90% of respondents said they were equally or more concerned about these issues after the COVID-19 outbreak. While nearly 95% said they believed their personal actions could help reduce unsustainable waste, tackle climate change, and preserve biodiversity, with 27% to 30% stating that the pandemic had strengthened this belief.

Early into the lockdown, cities across the globe experienced clearer waters and cleaner skies. Pollution and carbon emissions were at an all time low, and the world came to realise the positive effects of slowing down. If consumers ever needed a stark reminder of pollution’s dramatic impact, this was it. As a result, a new surge in demand for sustainable action has developed, which was already building on pre-pandemic momentum, especially among the youth. 

As per a survey conducted by Deloitte, millennials and Gen Z-ers continue to change their daily, personal routines with sustainable intentions. Prior to the pandemic, 50% had reduced fast fashion purchases, and 64% were cutting back on single-use plastic and recycling more. The pandemic has accelerated these beliefs and increased their eagerness towards making a positive impact. Approximately a fifth of both generations claimed to be vegetarians or vegans, and 40% of millennials reported reducing their consumption of meat and fish.

Images courtesy: The Deloitte Global Millennial Survery 2020

We are at a pivotal point in the pandemic where the world is changing quickly, for better or worse. Together we have an opportunity to seize this seismic shift towards sustainability to reset and create a better world — the key to which lies in the hands of the consumer.

Further reading:

Take a deeper look at how consumer habits transformed for the greater good amid the pandemic.

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-12-05

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