What’s your top concern?
4 March 2021 at 8:27 am
A new report reveals the issues keeping Australians awake at night – and why businesses should care
The environment is Australia’s top concern, according to a new survey that finds nearly 80 per cent of people believe brands should support causes or make changes to their products to address social and environmental issues.
The report, released by The Republic of Everyone and The Bravery, surveyed 2,000 Australians across all age groups to uncover the top areas of social and environmental concern.
Despite coronavirus dominating headlines for the past 12 months, ocean health emerged top of the list across all age groups, followed by climate change, plastic waste, toxic chemicals, loss of forests and habitat, and air pollution.
Claire Maloney, the director of The Bravery, described the results as “staggering”.
“It’s incredible to think that during this time, with the amount of disruption caused by the pandemic, that the environment is still the big issue… that people are putting this beyond their own immediate health,” Maloney told Pro Bono News.
COVID-19 still ranked high on the list of concerns however, coming in at number two for unprompted social or environmental concern, falling just below global warming.
Consumers hold the power
When it came to taking action, participants were most likely to donate money to a charity and recycle regularly, followed closely by seeking out brands that support causes or have environmentally friendly attributes.
Nearly 80 per cent of respondents said that brands should support causes or make changes to their products to address social and environmental issues, and 56 per cent said they actively looked for brands that reflected their values.
Additionally, six in 10 people said that they would pay more for a product that makes a positive social and environmental impact.
Maloney said it would be remiss of businesses to ignore this high level of consumer demand for businesses to be better.
“Living inside the head of your consumer is something that all brands should be thinking about, because if you don’t understand your consumer, then you can’t do very much,” she said.
Ben Peacock, the founder of the Republic of Everyone, added that if brands didn’t change their habits they would miss out on a whole generation of business.
“Gen Z is the most educated generation in history, particularly with regards to social and environmental issues,” Peacock said.
“They are harnessing this knowledge as power and driving change for a better world. Businesses will need to evolve to meet their growing expectations for meaningful action to do and be better for people and the planet.”
An opportunity for charities
Maloney said the findings in the report could also be used as leverage by for-purpose groups
“From charities, to B Corps and social enterprises, this [report] gives them a range of new data to talk with partners to strengthen their case,” she said.
“Because I think sometimes that’s the hardest part for a business – they want to do the right thing, but they want to know that it won’t cost money to do it… and what this research definitively answers is that across all generational segments,[consumers] are willing to pay a little bit more.”
Keen to find out more? The Republic of Everyone and The Bravery are hosting a free webinar on the topic on 4 March, 12 pm. Register here.