Sustainability Post COVID-19

January 2022

The global pandemic has drawn attention to sustainability, rising awareness and accelerating actions and investments from companies and governments. This report brings together insights from Euromonitor’s Voice of the Industry: Sustainability survey, which tracks how businesses define, manage and communicate sustainability, in addition to insights from Euromonitor’s newly launched Sustainable Living Claims Tracker that shows how companies use product claims to communicate sustainability with con

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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.

Scope
Key findings
Purpose Intensifies after COVID-19
To B or not to B-Corp?
Costs remain the main barrier to sustainability despite higher awareness
Willingness to pay for sustainability is higher in consumer goods
But how much is too much?
Expensive products not necessarily the most loved
The value of choosing the right claim to win consumers
More human language and less corporate talk
Don't put all your eggs in one basket, diversify and win
Anti-greenwashing EU rules against sustainability claims
Corporate climate awareness is high but action remains low
CEO activism could narrow the gap
Making energy more sustainable takes priority
Carbon neutral claims: Where to play?
Sustainability to gain momentum in investment decisions
Growing importance of ESG in mergers and acquisitions
For companies, environmental is the top ESG factor
Natural capital accountability is the next big thing in sustainability
Regenerative labels going mainstream
Conclusions
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