Consumer Trends and Sustainability

Neil HartleyHealth & Safety Issues/TrendsLeave a Comment

Consumer Trends and Sustainability

In our last post we highlighted how falling societal trust can lead to worse workplace safety outcomes.

This was a follow up to an original post we published in September 2020 that posited the link between trust and safety outcomes through the axis of rules. The latest follow up was prompted by a comment in Euromonitor International’s Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2021 report which stated that, “People are more cynical of governments and politics, giving rise to the Restless and Rebellious. Only 17% of Americans say they can trust the government; in Chile, it is a meagre 5%”.

As you would expect there was quite a safety hue to the Consumer Trends report with some trends such as ‘Safety Obsessed’ [demanding that, “Companies across industries should develop robust hygiene initiatives in response to heightened concerns”] likely to be transient and forgotten in subsequent reports.

However, there are two, in addition to the one on societal trust touched on in our last post, that are likely to prove more persistent. They are: ‘Build Back Better’ and ‘Shaken and Stirred’.

Build Back Better

Despite the potentially polarising nature of the name, this is an extremely important trend. It refers primarily to sustainability and recognises a shift during the pandemic from “slower-moving environmental threats towards urgent social priorities”. That means correcting social inequity, putting health and wellness of employees front and centre, as well as more broadly being purpose-driven rather than profit-centric.

Companies who are able to do this [throughout their supply chains] will be favoured by consumers. In other words, sustainability is emerging as a source of competitive advantage.

What are the broad operational impacts of your organisation in economic, environmental and social terms? How do you measure that? What do you measure? How do you manage/change your supply chain to better support your corporate sustainability goals? How do you get actionable, real-time insights into performance?

All great questions and, fortunately, help is at hand in the form of our White Paper, Building Sustainability through Data Visibility.

Shaken and Stirred

This trend talks to the increasing awareness consumers have around stress and mental wellness generally. Specifically, that they need to tackle the root causes of stress and not just the symptoms.

Euromonitor believe that, “products and experiences that offer self-improvement, skill development, life balance support and financial resilience will gain traction even as the pandemic wanes”.

It’s hard to imagine anything other than a tsunami of mental health issues following hard on the heels of the pandemic and, of course, once again, those consumers are us. It’s great to see the coverage that is being provided this month by the Workplace Wellbeing Show but more needs to be done.

Some things we can’t directly control. For example, NHS wait times for people directly asking for help with depression are currently 9 months (anecdotally based on two separate conversations).

Other things we can control. Don’t rely on the smiley faces on Zoom to gauge the mental health of those in your team. Call them. Research shows that “more frequent communications between the manager and employee was associated with higher levels of interpersonal trust only with the remote workers”. People working from home need that call. What seems like interference when a manager walks the floor in cubicle city is now a welcome addition to the day and something that can not only build trust but help and support mental wellbeing.

Control what you can control. Pick up that phone and help someone out.

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