Concern for the environment remains very strong

While it’s true that the pandemic has pushed the environment down the list of global concerns, it still remains ahead of everything else, even economic issues. We see a similar sentiment in our Consumer Environmental Trends Report 2020, with 78% of all consumers saying that they are concerned about the environment. The number is even greater for those with a higher level of education or income, the young, and those with young families.

Concern for the environment going forward remains particularly strong. In fact, even more consumers than last year believe that we are heading for environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly (67% versus 66%).

Moreover, almost two-thirds (63%) say that pandemic lockdowns have brought environmental improvements that they would like to see maintained. This suggests an appetite for change and opportunities for a “build back better” ethos and initiatives.

Examples are already under way, such as the European Green Recovery Alliance, an initiative launched by the European Parliament in April that aims to put action against climate change and biodiversity loss at the centre of Europe’s post-COVID-19 economic policy. In September, more than 150 European business leaders and investors signed an open letter outlining their determination to work with the EU to tackle impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic while delivering a more climate-resilient and regenerative recovery. The letter also supported the ambition set out in the European Green Deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by at least 55% by 2030.

All of that said, it’s notable that there is a significant cohort in emerging countries that say they are sick of the fuss being made about the environment, amounting to about a third of consumers in India, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Case study: do bem, Brazil

do bem aims to transform packaging waste into items that can make a difference in people’s lives

With its Bagaço project, Brazilian drinks company do bem is setting out to “transform waste into items that can make a difference in people’s lives”, according to Tiago Schmidt, Marketing Manager at do bem.

The project aims to ensure that 100% of the Tetra Pak® packages used for its range of healthy drinks – including teas, coconut water and juices for children – are recycled and reused, either in the form of secondary packaging or products that can be used in a range of social initiatives to promote recycling.

To kickstart the project, do bem partnered with Brazilian company Muzzicycles – a pioneer in making bikes from recycled materials – to turn some 8,000 cartons into 20 branded bicycles. These have been donated to various NGOs in Rio de Janeiro.

Future initiatives include creating spectacles, houses and roof-tiles for low-income people (in partnership with NGOs Ecolar and TETO) and furniture items. The goal is to save 1,000 tons of packaging waste per year.

Read next insight: Sustainable packaging matters

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Tetra Pak Index 2020, summary and conclusions infographic

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