The importance of keeping your finger on the sustainability pulse

How do businesses respond to changing sustainability concerns in a meaningful way? We outline a new approach, and three priority areas.
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sustainability pulse
matt dodd

Head of Analytics

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Our society, environment and attitudes have evolved drastically across the last few years. But what we are seeing in the past 6 months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is a rapid acceleration in consumers updating their priorities at a pace we have never seen before.

The growing relevance of these key societal, cultural, environmental and economic issues makes it more complex for businesses to navigate the landscape and take the right decisions. Many businesses now use the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework to define their purpose and measure their progress against key topics such as poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. But how do businesses respond in a meaningful way? Where should they invest? What opportunities should they pursue? What is going to matter to people next?

In order to help brands to stay on top on these issues we created an always-on solution suite called Issue Radar that analyses 1.1 billion curated posts, articles and searches around the UN SDGs. Our exhaustive framework lets us slice and dice the data in various ways, as we have over 4,000 lenses covering some 900+ issues across 210 different categories... encapsulating some 2,500 brands.

To help us zero in on what matters and what will matter, we have partnered with Saïd Business School to develop a ground-breaking prediction algorithm called Hypertrends. Hypertrends is a departure from traditional methodologies, and allows us to better holistically predict the interdependencies between the authors, topics and networks, giving us the most accurate picture of the landscape.

New priorities for citizens

Some 40 relevant themes surfaced over the past 6 months, and if we group these, we clearly see the emergence of three new citizenship prioritization spaces. These are:

1. Being a more mindful me

A 576% rise in reading, discussing and sharing healthy content as we pay much closer attention to our new normal lifestyles #healthyliving #fitness #mask #glutenfree #supplements

A 325% rise in mindfulness, cruelty-free and vegan in searching, sharing and reading #vegan #crueltyfree #ecofriendly #organic #natural

2. A better planet

Concerns around the environment and pollution have seen a growth of 414% #plasticfree #zerowaste #livewithless #simpleandslow

3. A fairer world

There has been a 330% increase around reducing social and ethnic inequalities #blacklivesmatter #blackownedbusinesses #femaleempowerment #diversity #inclusion #lgbtq #notawitch

So how do other brands respond to these trends in an authentic, connected and meaningful way in order #buildbackbetter? The aim of Issue Radar is to help brands better navigate, activate and measure their performance relative to the UN sustainability goals and shine a light on:

  • What sustainability means to consumers and which trends your business should back to maximize impact
  • How your brand is perceived on the sustainability spectrum and whether it is capitalizing on what matters to your consumers
  • How you should evolve your supply chain and innovation pipeline to meet new opportunities.

To find out more, join our webinar on 25 November: Future-proof your brand’s sustainable transformation goals.

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