Overview: A changing world​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​01 | Environment is the leading global concern – and urgency is growing

In a time of marked uncertainty and turbulence, it’s striking that environmental issues top the (long) list of global concerns by some margin at 63%. Moreover, most consumers think the situation is only going to get worse, with 86% believing that the focus on environmental issues will grow in the coming five years. Indeed, two-thirds believe that we are heading for environmental disaster unless we change our daily habits quickly.​


Graph: most worrying global concerns

While specific environmental issues vary slightly between countries, global warming is the most worrying issue overall. It leads in every country surveyed bar China and Saudi Arabia, which are more concerned about air pollution (with global warming the #2 worry for both). The concern about climate change is relatively consistent, though local evidence/effects of global warming may be very different. What separates the countries is the level of action being taken to lessen the negative impact, both on a personal level, and on an industrial and governmental level.

In our qualitative interviews with the most environmentally aware consumers, respondents everywhere express concern about the planet’s worsening health, even in markets where there was previously limited interest. Such issues have mostly come to their attention via media, especially social media, although, again, many respondents cite examples of climate change directly affecting their own lives.

There is also a strong awareness of growing global waste challenges, notably the impact of plastic on the oceans and sealife. Respondents in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia in particular cite the local negative environmental effects of rapid development and industrialisation.

Generally, interest in the environment is shifting rapidly from a distant, abstract concern to one that is much more concrete, urgent and, crucially, personal, as consumers increasingly see this as an issue that will impact on their own and their family’s health.

Infographic: 2 in 3 consumers believe we're heading for environmental disaster

Case study: Woodlands Dairy (South Africa)

Major milk producer Woodlands Dairy both co-packs leading national retail brands, and has its own brand, First Choice.

Family-owned and with a passion for the environment, Woodlands recently launched a sustainability campaign called “It’s All Good”, built on three pillars: Promise (quality and business integrity); Planet (conservation); and People (all people are important).

In June 2019, Woodlands launched Africa’s first Tetra Brik® Aseptic 1000ml Slim with Bio-based Helicap™ 23 for its First Choice milk. The package has more than 80% renewable materials – including a closure and plastic film derived partly from sugar cane, as well as FSC™ paperboard – and is also recyclable.

First Choice milk in Tetra Brik® Aseptic carton packages

Sold through both modern and traditional trade, the new pack was launched with marketing in-store and across social media platforms with the tagline #GoodStartsSmall. Messaging has focused on sustainability, packaging with increased renewable content and recycling, supported by influencer conversations on social media. The package design includes a QR code, which consumers can scan with a smartphone to learn more about sustainability.

Read the next section: Health & environment are converging