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Sustainability: The United Kingdom

September 2021

The United Kingdom (UK) ranks high in the Global Sustainability Index, thanks to exceptional food availability and affordability, as well as movement towards sustainable energy. The gradual phase-out of fossil fuels in the country’s energy mix has supported the UK’s work in CO2 emission reduction and improving air quality performance. Nevertheless, limited domestic water resources, as well as a low Biodiversity Availability ranking, continue to be the country’s main risk factors.

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The Country Briefings series examine market potential, economic and consumer trends impacting each country and how they are set to change.

Each Country Briefing covers one of these topics:

Economy, Finance and Trade: Understanding the structure, health and potential risks of an economy are important for decision-making within an existing operating environment as well as for expansion strategies. Real GDP growth, inflation and exchange rate fluctuations will directly impact consumer market potential. Import and export trade profiles help gauge how open an economy is to trade and investment, while analysis of government finances can be used to explore macroeconomic stability and susceptibility to economic shocks.

Income and Expenditure: Insights into income, wealth and expenditure of consumers are vital in helping businesses make strategic decisions with regards to which country (or even which region within a country) to enter, which consumer segment to target, which products or services to market, and at which price point. Other factors such as the size and expansion of the middle class and income inequality are also important in helping companies gauge the potential of a country market.

Households: Global shifts in gender, ageing, migration and housing are transforming the size, location,  general make-up as well as income and expenditure of households around the globe, with diverse implications for governments and companies. Households insights can help identify the decision-making processes and consumption tastes of different household groups and types within a country, and assess household appliance and digital readiness that is key for formulating market technology and internet strategies.

Business Dynamics: A stable and competitive business environment is vital to operate efficiently and attract inward investment. Businesses can assess these factors alongside challenges such as corruption, political instability and terrorism, also gain insight into business operating environment and make strategic investment decisions. Transport infrastructure, ICT readiness and labour force dynamics will also identify potential issues with a supply chain and the level of workforce skills.

Sustainability: Insights on key sectors directly related to the environmental sustainability of a country such as energy, water, pollution, environmental resilience, forest and biodiversity and food and agriculture help businesses to make strategic decisions in relation to environmental and sustainability trends, improve brand reputation and ensure long-term operations while ultimately growing the bottom line.

The briefings cover 103 countries and identify topics of crucial interest to planners, marketers and researchers.

Sustainability: United Kingdom



Renewable energy importance to grow amid accelerated coal phase-out
The UK may need more challenging measures to achieve long-term climate goals
Government reforestation programmes to support UK’s nature restoration
Water over-consumption and global warming may result in future water shortage
Workforce shortage may put UK food security at risk
Long-term investment programme to help battle excessive flooding


Chart 1 Environmental Sustainability Index: United Kingdom Chart 2 Global Sustainability Ranking: United Kingdom Chart 3 Energy Ranking: United Kingdom Chart 4 Energy Availability Landscape: United Kingdom Chart 5 Energy Efficiency, Security and Equity Landscape: United Kingdom Chart 6 Pollution Ranking: United Kingdom Chart 7 Air Pollution: United Kingdom Chart 8 Waste and Water Pollution Landscape: United Kingdom Chart 9 Forest and Biodiversity Ranking: United Kingdom Chart 10 Forest and Biodiversity Landscape: United Kingdom Chart 11 Water Ranking: United Kingdom Chart 12 Water Availability, Equity and Security Landscape: United Kingdom Chart 13 Water Security and Efficiency Landscape: United Kingdom Chart 14 Food and Agriculture Ranking: United Kingdom Chart 15 Food and Agriculture Landscape: United Kingdom Chart 16 Role of Agriculture in the Economy: United Kingdom Chart 17 Environmental Resilience Ranking: United Kingdom Chart 18 Environmental Resilience Landscape: United Kingdom

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