There is a general desire and mantra to build back better, to correct many of the wrongs which did exist pre-pandemic.
The global economy contracted by nearly 4% in 2020. Internationally, more than two million people died, over 100 million were infected and many hundreds of millions faced vulnerability, insecurity or reduced to poverty. It was a major shock to the system and this has created both a desire and impetus for real change.
However, what does this mean?
In simple terms, leaders and their people are united to rebuilding their businesses to be far more inclusive, plus possess stronger sustainability strategies. Research indicates that 65% of those aged over 40 now expect companies: to possess genuine strategies for their role in impacting on the environment, on society and becoming far more inclusive. Of the 65%, 81% believe there is no longer any excuse for companies not possessing advanced strategies in these areas and it will determine which companies they will work for.
In terms of leaders, over 70% have noted that they are aware of the need to build greater sustainability strategies for their business and to build stronger engagement within their teams.
However, the challenge is still to place this into action. Research also notes that there was USD14.6tn in announced spending across the world’s largest fifty countries in 2020, of which USD1.9tn (13.0%) was directed to long-term ‘recovery-type’ measures and of that, USD341bn (18.0%) to green recovery initiatives.
However, this is natural given the challenges of the moment. The question is whether there is an impetus for change and all the research emerging is encouraging.
· Many today understand the full extent of what sustainability is all about with 13% (up from 2%) now being able to name the four core pillars of sustainability – environment, economic, social and cultural.
· 37% believe they have adapted their habits and behaviours to be more –sustainability friendly
· 58% of people would want to stay in accommodation with green awards and environmentally friendly practices
· 32% (up from 17%) feel strongly about the need for business to possess long term plans which also do embrace society.
· 33% note that they have reconnected with their local communities and understand local issues far more.
· 39% note that do buy from local suppliers and producers more than pre-pandemic
So are we building back better? The impetus and desire certainly exist. This is a good place from which to rebuild.