evidence and ideas. applied.

New Global Poll Documents the Pandemic’s Impact on Inequality

Six months on from The World Health Organization officially declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, a new global poll conducted for the BBC World Service shows that the impact of the pandemic has had a more severe impact on people in poorer countries and has exacerbated existing inequalities both within and across countries. Gen Z have also disproportionately experienced financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

The poll of 27 countries was conducted by GlobeScan in June 2020 during the height of the pandemic for many. In total, more than 27,000 people around the world were surveyed about COVID-19 and the impact it has had on their lives. Key findings include the following:

  • Nearly six in ten people (57%) say they have been affected financially by the impacts of the coronavirus, with those in non-OECD member countries much more likely to have had their income affected due to the pandemic (69%) compared to those living in OECD countries (45%).
  • Overall, people with lower incomes are most likely to have seen changes to their family income (60% versus 57% of average wage earners and 56% of high earners). Gen Z (63%) have also disproportionately experienced financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
  • While there is little difference overall in terms of the reported physical impact of the pandemic by gender, women report higher levels of direct financial impact than men, with greatest disparities reported in Germany (32% of women vs 24% of men), Italy (50% vs 43%), and the UK (45% vs 38%).
  • Only a minority (5%) say that they themselves, or someone in their family, have been sick or diagnosed with the virus, but relatively few (39%) have been left unscathed by either direct physical or financial impact.
  • Parents also feel greater impacts from the pandemic (57% feel greatly affected personally versus 41% of people without children).
  • In the USA, people who identify as Black report twice the level of having been infected by the virus or having had a family member infected compared to those identifying as White (14% versus 7%, respectively).
  • Those who have felt the effects of the coronavirus pandemic more strongly are more likely to desire a restructured economy, such as Gen Zs (62%) and low-income earners (58%).

People in Latin America, Asia, and Africa are more likely to say they have experienced considerable impacts from the virus, particularly those in Indonesia (74%), Turkey (74%), Mexico (73%), and Kenya (71%). North American and European residents are the least likely to feel impacted by the coronavirus, even though the USA is experiencing the largest number of cases in the world. Around a third of UK (34%) and US (36%) respondents say they personally have been greatly affected by the pandemic.

When comparing 16 different global issues covering socio-economic, environmental, and political topics, it is unsurprising that people view the coronavirus pandemic as the most serious problem currently facing the world. Sixty-eight percent of people believe that the pandemic is “very serious,” followed closely by the spread of human diseases (62%) more generally. The pandemic is currently viewed as a more serious problem compared to issues like climate change (60%), extreme poverty (57%), waste from single-use plastic (55%), and unemployment (53%). It is notable, however, that climate change remains near the top of the global public’s agenda despite the pandemic having touched so many personal lives.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is the most influential issue on average, there are some notable differences among countries. Argentinians are more likely to feel affected by the recession than the pandemic, while people in Australia, Italy, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, and Thailand feel almost equally affected by the pandemic and the recession.

It is undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s lives in a myriad of ways. When focussing on health and economic impacts, the survey reveals that few (39%) have been left unscathed by either of these elements.

Findings suggest there is a link between a nation’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and the impact on its population. Those who report lower levels of impact from the pandemic tend to live in countries that responded quickly or robustly such as Australia, Canada, Germany, and Sweden. In general, OECD member countries are less likely than non-member countries to feel greater impacts from the pandemic (41% versus 57% respectively say they have been greatly affected personally). Of the 27 countries surveyed, those living in Germany are the least affected – only 13 percent feel their lives have been greatly affected by the pandemic, while a quarter (26%) say it has not affected them at all.

Not only have they seen greater overall impacts, but people in non-OECD member countries are also more likely to have had their income affected due to the pandemic (69%) compared to those living in OECD countries (45%). People in Kenya (91%), Thailand (81%), Nigeria (80%), South Africa (77%), Indonesia (76%), and Vietnam (74%) are the most likely to have been affected financially. Mexico (79%) is the OECD member country with the largest proportion of residents impacted financially. Those in North America and Europe are less likely to have experienced physical or financial fallout from the pandemic.

Reflecting the OECD average, 42 percent of people in the UK and 45 percent in the US have seen changes to their incomes during the pandemic. People in Germany (69%), France (68%), Sweden (63%), and Japan (62%) are the most likely to not have felt physical or financial impacts.

Along with overall wealth at the country level, income differences within countries also reveal people’s experience of the pandemic. There is a divide that shows those at either end of the scale, with high (51%) or low (52%) incomes for their country are more likely to say they personally have been greatly affected by the pandemic than those with average (47%) income levels. People with lower incomes are most likely to have seen changes to their family income (60% versus 57% of average wage earners and 56% of high earners).

Bucking the overall trend, however, people with high incomes in Australia, Canada, Japan, Russia, and the UK are more likely to have experienced financial impacts during the pandemic than those earning the least. Forty-seven percent of high-income earners in the UK have seen their family’s income change, compared to 38 percent on low incomes.

The poll shows that the pandemic has affected certain demographics more than others. In several countries, especially in Europe, women are more likely than men to say they have been greatly impacted by the pandemic. Women in France (42% greatly affected vs 36% of men), India (59% vs 50%), Indonesia (77% vs 70%), Italy (55% vs 42%), Russia (48% vs 41%), Spain (54% vs 49%), Sweden (36% vs 27%), Turkey (77% vs 72%), and the UK (36% vs 31%) are all more likely than men in their country to feel they have been personally affected to a great extent. 

With school closures, online learning, and childcare dilemmas, it is understandable that parents also feel greater impacts from the pandemic (57% feel greatly affected personally versus 41% of people without children). Perhaps reflecting changing work patterns to assist with childcare, 66 percent of parents have also found themselves enduring income changes. Those without children are less likely to be affected either physically or financially (49% say they did not encounter either of these problems).

The impact of the pandemic also appears to have been less prevalent with age. Despite higher mortality rates among the elderly, younger generations are more likely to feel the effects than older generations – perhaps due to stronger levels of disruption to education, employment, and social activities among the younger generations. Fifty-five percent of Gen Z respondents and 56 percent of Millennials feel that the pandemic has greatly affected their lives, in contrast to just under half of Gen Xs (49%) and nearly four in ten Baby Boomers and older (39%).

Financial hardship is more prevalent among Gen Z (63% saw a change to their income) and Millennials (65%) compared to those further along in their career paths (Gen X with 59%, and Baby Boomers and older at 42% who say their incomes were affected). Older generations are more likely to have escaped physical or financial harm – 56 percent of Baby Boomers and older report no physical or financial impacts, compared to 39 percent on average globally.

While there is little overall difference in terms of reported physical impact between women and men, in several countries women report higher levels of direct financial impact, including Australia (44% of women saw a change to their income vs 38% of men), Canada (44% vs 39%), Germany (32% vs 24%), Italy (50% vs 43%), Japan (38% vs 32%), Russia (64% vs 59%), Sweden (33% vs 28%), and the UK (45% vs 38%). In China and Vietnam, men instead tend to report higher levels of financial impact, with 59 percent of men in China reporting a change to their income vs 52 percent of women, and in Vietnam 81 percent of men vs 67 percent of women.

In the USA, people who identify as Black report twice the level of having been infected by the virus or having had a family member infected compared to those identifying as White (14% versus 7%, respectively). In terms of economic impact, Americans who identify as Hispanic (50%) or Asian (58%) are more likely than the US average (45%) to say they have felt a direct financial impact by having had their family’s income affected. Hispanic (50%) and Asian Americans (52%) are also more likely than the US average (36%) to feel that the pandemic has greatly affected their lives overall. White Americans are the least likely to say that they have been greatly affected (33%) while Black Americans are more likely to have been greatly affected (41%).

When asked about thoughts on the post-COVID economic recovery and what should be prioritised, over half of respondents (55%) feel that economic systems need to be restructured to withstand current and future challenges. European (61%), African (68%), and Latin American (72%) countries, on average, tend to agree that the post-COVID economic recovery should incorporate restructuring to deal better with other challenges such as climate change and inequality. However, people in Asian countries are more likely to favour an economy that returns to pre-COVID status as soon as possible (58%). North American views tend to be close to the global average when it comes to returning the economy to its previous state (47% versus 45%, respectively).

Those who have felt the effects of the coronavirus pandemic more strongly are more likely to desire a restructured economy, such as Gen Zs (62%) and low-income earners (58%). On the other hand, those who have been impacted less are more likely to favour an economic recovery that returns to its original state. Almost half of Gen Xs (48%), Baby Boomers and older (46%), and those with high incomes (48%) would like to see the priority placed on economies returning back to normal compared to just 38 percent of Gen Zs and 42 percent of low-income earners. However, those with children also tend to be more in favour of getting the economy back to normal (47%) than those with no children (43%). In the USA, those who identify as White tend to prefer a return to normal (55%), while Black (57%), Hispanic (52%), and Asian Americans (55%) are more likely to say that they would like to see a restructured economy.


GlobeScan / BBC Pandemic Inequality 2020 - Participating Countries

Defining Generations:

  • Gen Z: people born from 1997 onwards (ages 18 to 23 in 2020 for the purposes of this study as only those aged 18+ were surveyed)
  • Millennials: people born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 24 to 39 in 2020)
  • Gen X: people born between 1965 and 1980 (ages 40 to 55 in 2020)
  • Baby Boomer and older: people born in 1964 or earlier (ages 56 and above in 2020)

Figure 1

Seriousness of Global Problems

Figure 2

Extent Personally Affected by...

Figure 3

Extent Personally Affected by COVID-19

Figure 4

Impact of COVID-19

Figure 5

Impact of COVID-19

Figure 6

Pandemic’s Amplification on InequalityPriority for COVID-19 Economic Recover

For media interviews, please contact:

About the BBC World Service

BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster, delivering a wide range of language and regional services on radio, TV, online and via wireless handheld devices. It uses multiple platforms to reach its weekly audience of 192 million globally, including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite and cable channels. Its news sites include audio and video content and offer opportunities to join the global debate. BBC World Service offers its multilingual radio content to partner FM stations around the world and has numerous partnerships supplying content to news websites, mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices as well as TV channels. For more information, visit  

Questionnaire Wording

For each of the following possible global problems, please indicate if you see it as a very serious, somewhat serious, not very serious or not at all serious problem.

  1. The spread of human diseases
  2. Extreme poverty in the world
  3. The loss of animal and plant species
  4. The state of the global economy
  5. Mental health problems
  6. The gap between rich and poor
  7. Unequal treatment of women
  8. Shortages of fresh water
  9. Single-use plastic waste in the environment
  10. Climate change or global warming
  11. Air pollution in general
  12. The depletion of natural resources, such as forests, farmland and fish
  13. Online data security and privacy
  14. Unemployment
  15. Social and political division in my country
  16. The coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic

How much are you personally affected by each of the following problems?

  1. The economic recession
  2. Climate change or global warming
  3. The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic

How would you describe how you may have been personally affected by the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic? Please select all that apply to you.

  1. I or family members have been sick or diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus
  2. My family’s income has been affected
  3. My life has not been affected in these ways

In building the post-COVID-19 economic recovery, do you think the priority should be on:

  1. Getting our economy back to normal as soon as possible
  2. Restructuring our economy so it deals better with other challenges like inequality and climate change as well

Headline photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

The 2020 GlobeScan / SustainAbility Leaders Survey | Top Sustainability Leaders

Unilever, Patagonia, Ikea, Interface, and Natura &Co Most Recognized by Experts as Sustainability Leaders According to 2020 Leaders Survey: Four New Companies Join Ranking

Experts also share views on the pandemic, suggesting long-term resilience depends on embedding sustainability and developing innovative new business models

August 12th 2020
– Findings from the 2020 Leaders Survey by GlobeScan and SustainAbility show that Unilever, Patagonia, IKEA, Interface, and Natura &Co are again the most recognized leaders according to this annual global survey of experts. An exciting development this year is the entrance of four new companies that have not previously been part of the top tier of recognized leaders: Microsoft, Ørsted, L’Oréal, and Tata.

The Leaders Survey has tracked global expert opinions on the evolution of the sustainability agenda and which companies experts perceive are leaders and why since 1997. In 2020, over 700 experts in 71 countries were asked, unprompted, to name companies that they see as being leaders in integrating sustainability into their business strategy.

Top Sustainability Leaders

Unilever is named by the most experts globally as a sustainability leader, recognized by 42 percent of respondents. This is the 10th consecutive year Unilever has topped the ranking. After dipping in 2019, mentions of Unilever have rebounded, while recognition of most other companies has remained steady.

Patagonia is in second place (at 26%, down one point compared to 2019), and IKEA ranks in third place (at 14%, up one point compared to 2019). Interface sits in fourth position (at 8 percent, down one point compared to 2019), maintaining its status as the only company recognized in all 23 years this survey has taken place. Natura &Co is in fifth place at 8 percent (no change from 2019).

Natura &Co and Tata are the only two companies headquartered outside of North America and Europe who are recognized by experts as leaders.

The 2020 GlobeScan / SustainAbility Leaders Survey | Top Sustainability Leaders - chart1

Chris Coulter, CEO at GlobeScan, said: “What’s notable about the results this year is that we have four new companies joining the top list of recognized sustainability leaders – a remarkable amount of change in this survey’s history. These results suggest shifting expectations for leadership and show the potential for new approaches to sustainability leadership during these unprecedented times.”

Regionally, Unilever is top-ranked in all regions except Latin America, where Natura &Co stands out in the eyes of 45 percent of respondents. Interface (11%), Microsoft and Tesla (both 10%, respectively) are among the most-mentioned companies in North America, while Danone (13%) and Ørsted (7%) are well-ranked in Europe, and Tata (6%) has gained traction in the Asia-Pacific region.

While having sustainability as part of the core business model continues to be a major factor of recognized sustainability leadership, setting ambitious targets and committing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is now the top issue in the eyes of experts. As we confront a global pandemic with resulting economic hardship, efforts around health, social engagement, and human rights have turned into key assessment criteria defining sustainability leadership also.

The 2020 GlobeScan / SustainAbility Leaders Survey | Top Sustainability Leaders - chart2

Resilience is dependent upon ESG and innovative business models

Experts call on companies to keep ESG priorities at the forefront as the most urgent action they can take to build resilience. Rethinking business models, ensuring business continuity and risk preparedness, and transforming supply chains were also cited as being other pressing actions to take.

Experts also believe that there will be a renewed focus on environmental issues in the effort to build long-term resilience and to address increasingly interconnected global challenges.

The 2020 GlobeScan / SustainAbility Leaders Survey | Top Sustainability Leaders - chart3

Mark Lee, Executive Director at SustainAbility, said: “The 2020 survey makes clear what the private sector must do to increase resilience and the ability to withstand future shocks in the wake of COVID-19: embed environmental sustainability and ESG in strategy, develop new and sustainable business models, improve risk management and business continuity planning, and transform supply chains. The time to act is now.”

Download the Full Report

Watch the webinar

For more information, please contact:

About SustainAbility

SustainAbility, an ERM Group Company, is a global think tank and advisory firm. Our vision is a just and sustainable world for present and future generations. Through our agenda-setting research and advocacy, we chart new territory and help business leaders and their stakeholders understand what’s next. Through our advisory services, we help clients understand the shifting landscape of risk and opportunity, develop practical strategies and initiatives, and foster authentic, impactful engagement and collaboration with a range of stakeholders. Learn more at

Global Survey Finds Most Prefer Expanding GDP with Health, Education, and Environmental Data

The 2020 GlobeScan-Ethical Markets “Beyond GDP” survey repeats questions asked in 2007, 2009, and 2013 polls in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Kenya, Russia, the UK, and the USA. The general public (n=1,000 in each country) were again asked to choose between continuing money-based GDP to steer national progress or to add statistics on health, education, and the environment. Overall, an average of 72 percent prefer broadening GDP with such additional data.

2020 GlobeScan-Ethical Markets “Beyond GDP” survey - chart 1

These GlobeScan-Ethical Markets surveys were launched at the European Parliament at the EU Commission’s “Beyond GDP” conference in 2007 by Ethical Markets’ CEO Dr. Hazel Henderson, a US cabinet-level science policy advisor (, and reconfirmed in the later polls. Henderson said “Yet financial markets, media, most governments and companies, and their economists persist in ‘the GDP fetishism’ described by economist Joseph Stiglitz. The 2020 survey shows that people are still ahead of economists, financiers, corporations, governments, and politicians.”

Today, many seem to prefer the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Human Development Index (HDI), and the Gross National Happiness Index (GNH) developed in the nation of Bhutan (not included in the survey). Governments, city mayors, and many companies are now scrambling to catch up, as in the “C40 Mayors’ Agenda for a Green and Just Recovery,” July 2020, and the World Economic Forum’s New Nature Economy, Report II “The Future of Nature and Business,” June 2020, which forecasts $10.1 trillion of new business opportunities in valuable natural productivity.

These opportunities are also cited in the cumulative $10.3 trillion of private investments in green sectors worldwide, tracked in Ethical Markets’ Green Transition Scoreboard® reports from 2009–2020 ( In Brazil for example, dependent on nature’s productivity, the 2020 survey finds 85 percent of Brazilians favor the broader measures added to GDP on health, education, and environment, along with 81 percent of Germans, 79 percent of Kenyans, 77 percent of French and British publics, 75 percent of Canadians, 73 percent of Russians, 69 percent of Australians, 64 percent in the USA, 59 percent of Chinese, and 58 percent of Indians. The average of those in these countries still favoring money-based GDP fell to 28 percent.

2020 GlobeScan-Ethical Markets “Beyond GDP” survey - chart 2

The global pandemic continues to upend societies, cratering GDP-led economic growth, and deepening inequality. Chris Coulter, CEO of GlobeScan, said “There will clearly be significant societal implications on the back end of the pandemic, leading to further examination around how to best measure and value economies across the world. People want a more holistic approach to how we measure progress in our countries.”

This may well also account for the rising of the bottom-up SDG scorecard’s popularity, cited in both the above-mentioned C40 and World Economic Forum reports. The SDGs were officially adopted by 193 member countries of the UN in 2015 and represent traditional systemic reliance on nature for survival in all countries, as well as the older human values of community cooperation encoded in the Golden Rule.

For more information please contact:

About Ethical Markets Media

Ethical Markets Media Certified B Corporation, a signatory of PRI and works to reform markets and metrics while helping accelerate and track the transition to the green economy with its Green Transition Scoreboard®, Transforming Finance TV Series, research, reports, articles, newsletters, and analysis by Hazel Henderson, editor-in-chief, on

Concern for the Oceans Drives Consumers to ‘Vote with their Forks’ for Sustainable Seafood

One in three fear their favourite fish will be off the menu by 2040

High levels of concern for our oceans are driving a new wave of consumer activism, research for the Marine Stewardship Council reveals, as consumers increasingly ‘vote with their forks’ to safeguard our oceans.

The largest survey of its kind involving more than 20,000 people across 23 countries, conducted by independent insights consultancy, GlobeScan, reveals that 6 in 10 seafood shoppers (58%) already made changes to the way they choose and buy seafood in the last year in order to protect fish in our oceans.

Consumer activism includes switching to brands or products that say they help protect the oceans or fish (23%), buying different seafood species (17%) and changing where they buy seafood (15%). Eight in 10 seafood consumers (83%) are prepared to take further action in the future to safeguard our oceans.

That action is being fuelled by the worry held by nearly 1 in 3 people globally (31%) that their favourite fish won’t be available to eat in 20 years’ time. A higher proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds (37%) fear their favourite fish will be off the menu by 2040 than the over 55s (27%). Young people and parents are also more likely to have taken action in the last year 1 and be willing to take action in the future to protect fish and seafood 2.

For plenty more fish to be left in the sea, two thirds (65%) of seafood lovers say buying fish and seafood from sustainable sources is vital, and two fifths (41%) say they notice ecolabelled products when shopping.

Oceans contain up to 80 percent of life on earth 3, with seafood providing an important source of protein to more than 3 billion people across the world 4.  However, a third of fisheries around the world have been fished beyond sustainable limits, and a further 60% are fished to their maximum capacity 5.

This World Oceans Day (8th June), the independent, not-for-profit Marine Stewardship Council is launching a new global campaign Little Blue Label, Big Blue Future. The aim is to encourage more consumers to switch to seafood certified to its rigorous ‘blue label’ standard.

Rupert Howes, Chief Executive at the Marine Stewardship Council said: “With overfishing, climate change and pollution putting increasing pressure on our oceans, the choices we make as consumers have never been more important. This survey shows people really do care where their seafood comes from and how it is sourced.

“At a time when the seafood industry is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we can all play a part in supporting fishers committed to sustainable practises, helping to protect marine ecosystems and safeguarding our seafood supplies for future generations. Choose certified sustainable seafood by looking out for the blue MSC label.”

Notes to editors

Monday 8 June 2020 is World Oceans Day, observed in 140 countries to drive collaboration to safeguard our oceans. To support this effort, the MSC has launched a new global campaign: ‘Big blue future, little blue label’.


74% of 18 to 24-year olds compared with 49% of those over 55, and 65% parents compared with 53% of those who do not have children, have taken an action to protect fish and seafood in the last year.

89% of 18 to 24-year olds compared with 78% of those over 55, and 86% parents compared with 81% of those without children, say that they are willing to take action in the future to protect the fish and seafood in our oceans.

An estimated 50-80% of all animal life on earth is found under the ocean surface. More detail can be found in PNAS  115 (25) 6506.

According to the United nation Food and Agriculture Organisation, fish provide about 3.2 billion people with almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein – (UNFAO 2018) SOFIA Report, p70

According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, 33% of the world’s fish stocks are currently overfished, with this figure increasing consistently since 1974. 60% are fished to their maximum capacity.

About the Marine Stewardship Council

The MSC is an international non-profit organisation which sets a globally recognised, science-based standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability.

The blue MSC label on a seafood product means that: it comes from a wild-catch fishery which has been independently certified to the MSC’s science-based standard for environmentally sustainable fishing; it is fully traceable to a sustainable source. It can be found on more than 100 species of seafood in 100 countries.

About this sustainable seafood survey

The survey uses the latest methodologies, sampling and question wording, developed by independent insights and strategy consultancy, GlobeScan.

The survey was carried out between January and March 2020 using large and reliable national consumer research online panels to recruit respondents, with a minimum of 600 seafood consumers surveyed per country.

Respondents came from 23 counties: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA.

The main sample of seafood consumers comprised a total of 20,876 respondents who said they or someone in their household had purchased fish or seafood in the last two months.

For more information please contact:

Purpose-Driven Brands Partner to Identify Opportunities for Healthy, Sustainable Living with 25-Country Consumer Study

April 22, 2020: GlobeScan is joining forces with CVS Health, IKEA, PepsiCo, Visa, Walmart, and WWF International among others to conduct its Healthy & Sustainable Living study to better understand how companies can inspire and enable healthy and sustainable living.

Building on the 2019 launch of this ten-year insights program, the consumer research across 25 countries will help identify opportunities to close the wide gap between peoples’ desire to live more sustainably and to what extent brands are helping them do so. Enabling more sustainable living is an urgent need and a systemic challenge that will become even more vital in a post-coronavirus world.

25,000 people across 25 countries will be surveyed in June 2020 to explore consumer motivations, needs and expectations as well as opportunities for influential organizations to support healthier and more sustainable living. Initial results will be released globally in July 2020.

Eric Whan, Director at GlobeScan said: “We are witnessing a radical reshaping of behavioral norms during this time of COVID-19. Organizations must learn as much as they can now so that they can create opportunities for a new and more collaborative future while proactively addressing planetary threats that are bearing ever nearer. Consumer behavior change will be an important part of the outcome.”

Lena Pripp-Kovac, Chief Sustainability Officer, Inter IKEA Group said: “We want to lay the groundwork for a positive comeback that benefits people, society and the planet. We will use the insights from this study to accelerate our work and support the transition into a more sustainable everyday life, making healthy and sustainable living affordable and attractive.”

Simon Lowden, Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo said: “The COVID-19 crisis has underscored how interconnected we all are, and how our individual actions can impact the health of our communities and our planet. Now more than ever, society needs to have a dialogue around how we can ‘re-set’ for a healthier, more sustainable future. As PepsiCo continues to advance our ambitious sustainability agenda, we welcome insights that will help us understand what motivates consumers and how our brands can play a positive role in building a better tomorrow.”

Douglas Sabo, Vice President, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, Visa Inc. said: “Now more than ever, we need to continue to understand where consumers are today and how leading brands and organizations can respond to rebuild towards an inclusive and sustainable future.”

Kathleen McLaughlin, Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for Walmart Inc. said: “Sustainability is at the heart of our mission to help people save money and live better. This survey helps us better understand our customers’ evolving needs so we can continue to meet their expectations for more sustainable food and products at everyday low prices.”

Cristianne Close, Markets Practice Leader at WWF said: “The COVID-19 crisis is showing us that we need to radically change our relationship with nature. Building resilience for the future requires a green and just recovery. We can’t go back to business as usual – we need fundamental change in our production and consumption patterns. And this research will continue to guide our efforts to build back better.”

To better understand how sustainable consumer behavior will develop in the coming years, the research will also examine inter-related topics of food and diets, social influence, and aspects of the circular economy. Insights from this study will also help to better understand people’s attitudes and behaviors toward nature and its protection to inform the global biodiversity and climate change agendas going forward.

Survey sampling and data collection will be achieved using best-in-class online consumer panels in each of the 25 countries and optimized to represent consumers per the latest census data for those age 18 years and up. The study will also pay close attention to the views of young adults aged 18 to 24 to better understand shifting needs and opportunities.

Participating countries include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom and USA.

For more information please contact:

Explore Past Research

Public Calls for Governments to Close S.E. Asia’s Wildlife Markets in Response to COVID-19

7 April, Hong Kong – This World Health Day, as the world grapples with the worst public health emergency in recent memory, over 90 per cent of respondents surveyed in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong support a government-led closure of illegal and unregulated wildlife markets, according to new research for WWF.

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the link between zoonotic diseases – those transmitted from animals to humans – and wildlife markets into sharp focus. An online survey conducted by GlobeScan in March among 5,000 participants from Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam (see full methodology below) found that 82 per cent of respondents are extremely or very worried about the outbreak, with 93 per cent of respondents in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong supporting action by their governments to eliminate illegal and unregulated markets.

Questions remain about the exact origins of COVID-19, but the World Health Organization has confirmed it is a zoonotic disease, meaning it jumped from wildlife to humans. The Chinese government announced a comprehensive ban on the consumption of wild animals on 24 February. WWF’s research shows that citizens support similar action from other governments across the region. This was the first survey of public opinion about the connection between COVID-19 and wildlife trade undertaken across Asia.

“China has taken great steps prohibiting the hunting, trade, transport and eating of wild animals, and Vietnam is working on similar directives,” said Christy Williams, Regional Director of WWF’s Asia Pacific program. “Other Asian governments must follow by closing their high-risk wildlife markets and ending this trade once and for all to save lives and help prevent a repeat of the social and economic disruption we are experiencing around the globe today.”

Nine per cent of those surveyed by GlobeScan stated that they or someone they know had purchased wildlife in the past 12 months at an open wildlife market, but that 84 per cent are unlikely or very unlikely to buy wildlife products in the future.

“The public in Asia have spoken – those living in countries where wildlife markets are most prevalent are demanding that wildlife consumption is curbed and illegal and unregulated wildlife trade is eliminated. People are deeply worried and would support their governments in taking action to prevent potential future global health crises originating in wildlife markets.” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. “It is time to connect the dots between wildlife trade, environmental degradation and risks to human health. Taking action now for humans as well as the many wildlife species threatened by consumption and trade is crucial for all of our survival.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that the current COVID-19 pandemic, along with at least 61 per cent of all human pathogens, are zoonotic in origin – wildlife trade is an aggravating risk in the spread of zoonoses. Other recent epidemics, including SARS, MERS and Ebola, have also all been traced back to viruses that spread from animals to people.

Unsustainable wildlife trade is the second-largest direct threat to biodiversity globally, after habitat destruction. Populations of vertebrate species on earth declined by an average 60 per cent since 1970, and a 2019 report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) concluded that an average of 25 per cent of global species are currently threatened with extinction.

Download Reports

Survey Methodology

Between March 3-11, 2020, with n=1,000 respondents polled online in Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam for a total of  5,000 responses. Respondents were randomly selected and were representative of gender and age of the online population of their respective market.

In all markets, except for Japan, 90% or more of the people surveyed were very likely or likely to support efforts by governments and health ministries to close all illegal and unregulated markets selling wildlife in their country. However, in Japan, 59% of the respondents answered that there are no such markets in their country. In Japan, open wildlife markets for meat are not prevalent. Therefore, this may explain why only 54% claimed that they would support such government efforts.

For any queries, please contact:

Headline image source

To Remain Competitive Companies Must Become Carbon Neutral Within A Decade

2020 Survey of Sustainability Experts

11 February 2020 – Released today at the flagship GLOBE conference in Vancouver, findings of a new report “The Climate Decade: Ten Years to Deliver the Paris Agreement” by GlobeScan and SustainAbility, show that experts see the coming decade as crucial for companies to make significant progress on their emissions targets in order to remain competitive. Two-thirds (67%) of experts across 66 countries say that companies need to become carbon neutral by 2030 or sooner to remain competitive.

Consequences of Not Addressing Climate Change

Sustainability experts warn that reputational harm to their businesses will be the most severe consequence for companies that are not adequately addressing climate change.  Inside their own walls, increased physical and financial vulnerability to climate related impacts ranks second in consequential impact, followed by a lack of access to capital and divestment.

GlobeScan-SustainAbility Survey: The Climate Decade: Ten Years to Deliver the Paris Agreement - chart 1

GlobeScan and SustainAbility asked more than 550 global experts representing business, government, NGOs and academia across almost 70 countries to evaluate progress on addressing climate change generally, and specifically on the track record of corporate action and leadership.

Both national governments and the private sector are seen by experts as key for advancing climate goals, with national governments being perceived as playing the most crucial role for making progress. More than eight in ten sustainability professionals say that government actors at the national level play a “very important” role, while three-quarters say the same about private sector companies.

Corporate Climate Leadership

The study also identifies the companies that experts think are role models. Unilever is seen as a clear leader on climate change by almost one-quarter of sustainability professionals; Unilever was also chosen as a top climate leader in the two most recent previous editions of the survey (2017 and 2015, respectively).

Consumer-facing and technology companies are most recognized by experts for their efforts around climate change, with Patagonia, Tesla, IKEA and Alphabet/Google rounding out the top five leading companies. As in 2017, Brazilian cosmetics manufacturer Natura continues to be the only emerging market company to make the top ten leaders list.

GlobeScan-SustainAbility Survey: The Climate Decade: Ten Years to Deliver the Paris Agreement - chart 2

Overall, progress on addressing climate change is seen as insufficient, with half of sustainability experts (49%) believing it is unlikely that we will avert major damage from climate change if we continue at the present rate at which society is making progress toward addressing the threat. Another 16 percent say that major damage to human, social, and ecosystem health has already occurred, while a similar proportion remains optimistic that there is still time to avert disaster.

Eric Whan, Director, GlobeScan commented: “Our latest research confirms that expectations of companies, and indeed of those who regulate them, are reaching new highs. The pressure is on for 2020, and experts are pointing fingers at both good and bad.”

Current Progress is Not Enough

Mark Lee, Executive Director, SustainAbility said: “This survey is a reminder that current action, while certifiably representing progress, is not enough to stave off major damage from climate change. There is still significant work to do, and we need all corporations, not just current leaders, to take immediate and rapid steps towards a low-carbon future.”

“These results underline the critical importance of more action and ambition on climate change across the board,” said Mike Gerbis, CEO of GLOBE Series and The Delphi Group. “At GLOBE 2020, it is inspiring to be among so many of the companies and individuals who are at the vanguard of sustainability and climate leadership, and we look forward to accelerating our collective impact over the next decade.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

Register to join a February 18 webinar to explore the findings.

Survey Methodology

554 qualified sustainability experts completed the online questionnaire from October 31st to December 20th, 2019.

Please note that this survey and reporting were completed prior to the UN Climate Change Conference COP25.

GlobeScan-SustainAbility Survey: The Climate Decade: Ten Years to Deliver the Paris Agreement - methodology

For more information, please contact:

About SustainAbility

SustainAbility, an ERM Group Company, is a global think tank and advisory firm. Our vision is a just and sustainable world for present and future generations. Through our agenda-setting research and advocacy, we chart new territory and help business leaders and their stakeholders understand what’s next. Through our advisory services, we help clients understand the shifting landscape of risk and opportunity, develop practical strategies and initiatives, and foster authentic, impactful engagement and collaboration with a range of stakeholders. Learn more at


GLOBE Series is the largest and longest-running sustainable business summit and innovation expo in North America. Since 1990, 170,000 people from 97 countries have come to GLOBE to learn from industry leaders, marvel at cutting-edge technology and form long-lasting partnerships.

Learn more at

Two Thirds of Seafood Consumers Call For “Radical or Significant” Change to Feed Growing Population

A major survey of seafood consumers across seven countries in Europe, Asia, and North America has found widespread concern about the environmental and social impacts of food, with two thirds (63%) calling for “radical” or “significant” change to feed the world’s growing population.

The survey of over 7,000 seafood consumers in Germany, France, The Netherlands, China, Japan, Canada and the USA was carried out by GlobeScan on behalf of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) in summer 2019. While it found variations between countries, especially when it comes to the frequency and way seafood is consumed, support for better protection of the environment and workers when it comes to food production was generally high around the world.

Read the full press release on the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) website.

image source

More People Are Feeling Anxiety, Fear Over Climate Change, But Action Stagnates

The global population is becoming more informed and increasingly anxious about climate change, according to a new global climate action report from IKEA.

The study of 31,000 people across 30 countries shows that despite recognising the collective need to do more, individuals feel disempowered and action is stagnating.  The global study was conducted to understand how people think and feel about climate change, and what they are doing to address it in their daily lives.

The Climate Action Report was released by Ingka Group, a strategic partner in the IKEA franchisee system, at the 50th edition of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

According to the study, more people are getting motivated at the same time to take action by positive visions of a better life for future generations (55%).

Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group, says: “Together we have a decade to prevent irreversible damage from climate change to the home we all share, the planet. We can see in our research that people expect more from businesses and governments today and as awareness about climate change has increased, the everyday action has stagnated. We will enable and inspire people with thin wallets to live a more sustainable life within the limits of the planet and believe that action speaks louder than words.

“To spark real change, we will hold a positive, proactive and collaborative approach and turn climate challenges into scalable solutions. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. And together we will solve this,” says Brodin.

Along with increasing knowledge, anxiety and fear are also rising, with three quarters (73%) saying they worry a lot or a fair amount about climate change. Three in four parents (77%) say their kids are worried about climate change, with half (50%) saying their children worry a lot or a fair amount.

A clear correlation has also emerged between knowledge, concern and the will to take action: the more knowledgeable someone is about climate change, the more worried they feel, and the more likely they are to take action.

According to the report, there are three key motivators: presenting a positive vision connecting to helping the planet and future generations (both 55%), and benefits such as saving money (45%) and seeing the impact of their personal actions (47%).

The study shows that while more people are making small everyday changes like recycling (76%), cutting food waste (60%) and avoiding unsustainable products (49%), climate action more broadly has stagnated due to the perceived lack of support and practical advice and anticipated expense of taking action.

Some of the top facts in the reports shows that:

  • Concern in 14 tracker countries across the globe has risen five percentage points to 71%, with the state of the planet for future generations a top concern across all 30 countries
  • While 61% of people globally say they are knowledgeable about climate change, and 87% are willing to take action, 37% still don’t know how they can help tackle it
  • 59% feel they do not get enough support from government, and 51% from business

Key motivators to inspire consumer action are:

  • Positive vision – presenting a positive, hopeful vision that connects actions with the potential for a better future for coming generations and the planet itself (both 55%)
  • Personal benefits – promoting personal gains including better personal and family health (47%) and saving money (45%), and making life daily easier and more comfortable (29%)
  • Enablers – advice, easy solutions, new technology and infrastructure and examples of what others are doing, with seeing the impact of their personal actions the most motivating (47%)

Download Press Release (PDF)



Download Infographic (PDF)

For more information please contact:

GlobeScan Announces the Appointment of New Board Member

Randi Kronthal-Sacco - GlobeScan Board of Directors4th November 2019 – GlobeScan is pleased to announce the appointment of Randi Kronthal-Sacco as a new independent Director to its Board.

Randi is a Senior Scholar at the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business. With over 25 years of packaged goods and pharmaceutical experience, Randi most recently was a senior executive at Johnson & Johnson®, where she served as Worldwide Vice President on two of the company’s most important franchises, Johnson’s Baby and Women’s Health. Prior to her role at Johnson & Johnson, Randi served in various product management capacities for 8 years at Kraft Foods including Director, Desserts Division.

Gail Klintworth, GlobeScan Chair said: “It is with great pleasure that I welcome Randi Kronthal-Sacco as a new independent Director of GlobeScan. Randi has had a remarkable career in the private sector and is now fully engaged at the Stern School in sustainable business.  We are excited to have her expertise help guide the Globescan business as we continue to build on our mission of enabling trusted leadership around the sustainable business agenda.”

Chris Coulter, CEO at GlobeScan notes: “I am thrilled that Randi has agreed to join the GlobeScan Board as she brings such a timely and valued perspective to our company, especially in the areas of marketing and brand purpose. She is a remarkable fit for us.”

On joining the GlobeScan Board, Randi Kronthal-Sacco said: “GlobeScan has a unique capability to help organizations build trust through its evidence-led insights and stakeholder engagement. Their mission to ‘build trusted leadership to create a better future’ is very inspiring and I look forward to making a contribution to GlobeScan’s continuing success.”

For more information please contact: