Back to Blog

Building Back Better - The Sustainable Opportunity After COVID-19

Published under Sustainability , Consumer Behaviour , Covid19
Written by Tobin Sparrow

As a Dad of two primary school aged children, Covid-19 has been truly disruptive and involved some fairly large personal and professional lifestyle changes.  However, my inner environmentalist has appreciated the small breather our fragile world has been able to take as we pause or reduce our normal activities.  We’re on-track for a temporary 6% reduction in global co2 emissions for the year, the night sky has been clearer, and the water in The Solent has been so blue it could almost be the Caribbean (I did say almost!).  As a result, 7 in 10 of us have become more aware of our impact on the environment during this period, but we must ‘build back better’ to ensure some of these benefits remain.

Our pre-pandemic buying habits were not largely sustainable, with a preference for low-cost and disposability.  But for the last three months we have been forced to form new habits.  Many households have suffered a reduction in income, resulting in over half being more careful about grocery spend, and becoming more savvy about the way food is bought and used… more cooking from scratch, more meal planning, more buying in bulk, more buying local and importantly, less throwing away food.  Encouragingly, 39% of us intend on maintaining this going forward.

PJs and tracksuits have replaced office attire, and with going out opportunities limited for now, 46% intend on buying less fast-fashion in future – bad news for some traditional business models, but good news for global sustainability.  Transport will also likely see a shake-up, with 43% planning on flying less, and 44% planning on walking or cycling when they would have previously driven or taken public transport.

So, there is appetite to do the right thing, but it will be too easy to slip back into our old ways as incomes recover and businesses re-open.  Three-quarters believe that the government must force a greener recovery (Westminster is already announcing green initiatives), however behind this almost two-thirds say businesses should lead the way to a greener recovery.  This provides a real opportunity for forward thinking brands not only to tap into a renewed enthusiasm for more sustainable practices, but also to lead the way to creating a better future for children like the ones sitting at home with me now.

Please get in touch if you’d like to know how Market Measures can help with this.

Data in this report was taken from the Market Measures Covid Recovery Trackerhere’s the latest full report if you’d like to read more.