Global Recovery Tracker: Q4 2021

January 2022

As the end of 2021 approaches, almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergence and rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant has increased uncertainty and weakened the momentum of the global recovery. This series of quarterly reports helps businesses track and predict when activity in some of the most important markets will recover in order to plan accordingly.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

Purpose intensifies but costs remain a barrier

In 2021, half of professionals consider that their company is on a journey to become purpose driven. However, for some companies the cost of the transition remains an important barrier preventing them from embracing purpose. If balancing short-term and mid- to long-term priorities has proven to be  challenging, now it is even more as the economic crisis starts to manifest.

Lower prices key to unlock sustainable purchases

Consumer willingness to pay more for sustainable products should not be the only driver of corporate efforts to become more sustainable. Following one of the worst recessions on record, high prices prevent sustainable shopping achieving mass market traction, unlocking its full potential.

Communicate differently

The language used for sustainability does matter. Today, there is a shift in the narrative, messages are moving away from doing less bad or compensating negative impacts towards having a positive impact and being a “force for good”. There is also a change in how sustainability is communicated, with storytelling and product claims increasingly used.

Net-zero, carbon neutral: from pledges to actions

Commitments by businesses to decarbonise supply chains and operations look good on paper, but they need to be followed by action. Governments need to start playing a greater role to facilitate the transition not only with targets and policies but also with incentives. n.

Sustainability creates value

Sustainability investment is on the rise with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) already at the top of investors’ agenda. Mandatory ESG reporting for companies is set to increase business transparency and accountability, ultimately impacting decisions about which company to invest in, buy from or work for.


Key findings
Timeline of the Coronavirus (1)
Timeline of the Coronavirus (2)
Timeline of the Coronavirus (3)
Global economic recovery slowing down
High global uncertainty remains
Recovery Index
Global overview for Recovery Index in Q4 2021
Index ranking based on Q4 2021 scores: 1 to 10
Index ranking based on Q4 2021 scores: 11 to 20
Index ranking based on Q4 2021 scores: 21 to 30
Index ranking based on Q4 2021 scores: 31 to 40
Index ranking based on Q4 2021 scores: 41 to 48
Recovery landscape in Q4 2021
Omicron is the new downward risk to the economic recovery
Economic activity picks up gradually across major economies
Labour market recovery threatened by Omicron
Consumer spending impacted by COVID-19 during the holidays
Retail sales rebound slows in Q4 2021
Consumer confidence is impacted by rising inflation
Brazil: mounting inflation limits consumer spending potential
China: energy shortages and zero-COVID-19 policy to curb growth
Germany: recovery to slow down as infection rates peak
India: economic activity continues upward trajectory
Italy: recovery slows as country braces for fifth COVID-19 wave
Japan: economy is improving and higher inflation is welcome
US: uncertainty prevails, as new Omicron variant emerges
UK: One of the first Omicron waves in Europe
Threat of Omicron looms
Key country insights
Recovery Index Methodology
Recovery Index indicators and weights
COVID-19 global scenario assumptions and definitions


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