Sustainability has been a prominent topic for some time, but the cost of implementing meaningful policies was a barrier for many brands and retailers before coronavirus. These challenges are likely to escalate as brands and retailers have suffered huge losses during the pandemic and face difficult times ahead.
Equally, sustainable practices in store have temporarily taken a backwards step through essential measures to keep staff and shoppers safe. These include installation of acrylic sneeze screens, increased use of cleaning products, single-use PPE, plastic bags and packaging to protect products from human contact.
But contrary to this, consumers have seen a positive impact on the environment during lockdown. With less road and air traffic they have experienced cleaner air, less pollution and a resurgence of wildlife. Many consumers will embrace this and gravitate towards a simpler, more self-sufficient life. Hot topics before the pandemic such as rental and borrowing, recycling, reusing and refashioning will come to the forefront.
This approach to sustainability is likely to be appealing to many consumers as their own financial situations are compromised, and they may not be able to pay the premium that is often associated with sustainable products and practices.
Consumers desire to care for the environment comes with renewed enthusiasm post-coronavirus, but initiatives need to be affordable for consumers as well as brands to have the desired impact.