GlobeScan

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Insight of the Week: Corporate Affairs Professionals Indicate an ​Appetite for Activism Among Companies​

Corporate Affairs Professionals Indicate an ​Appetite for Activism Among Companies​

Perceived Appetite for Corporate Activism, 2021​​

A majority of Corporate Affairs professionals – nearly three-quarters – feel that their company is interested in taking a public advocacy position on issues.​

This view is shared by experts across industries, with a stronger appetite for corporate activism in the food, agriculture, and forestry sector (80%). Those in financial and professional services perceive a slightly lower interest in corporate activism from their organizations (67%).

This suggests that companies are increasingly aware of their role in managing global challenges and seeking opportunities to drive impact on issues that relate to their business.

Data source: Oxford-GlobeScan Global Corporate Affairs Survey Report 2021

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Insight of the Week: A Third of Sustainability Experts Identifying as Minorities Have Experienced Discrimination in Their Careers

A Third of Sustainability Experts Identifying as Minorities Have Experienced Discrimination in Their Careers

% of Respondents Identifying as Minority Group Who Have Experienced Discrimination in Sustainability (n=93), 2021​

Among sustainability professionals who identify as a member of a minority group,* more than one-third say discrimination has negatively affected their career in sustainability.

In a recent survey of 496 sustainability experts in 75 countries, only 12 percent say they are part of a minority racial or ethnic group, and even smaller proportions identify as religious minorities, LGBTQI+, or disabled, suggesting a lack of diversity in the sustainability field.

These findings are a call to action for the sustainability community to recommit to diversity, inclusivity and anti-discrimination.

Notes:

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Insight of the Week: A Third of Female Sustainability Professionals Have Experienced Discrimination in Their Careers

A Third of Female Sustainability Professionals Have Experienced Discrimination in Their Careers

% of Respondents Not Identifying as Male Who Have Experienced Discrimination in Sustainability (n=161), 2021​

In GlobeScan and The SustainAbility Institute by ERM‘s recent survey of 496 sustainability experts in 75 countries, only 39 percent identify as female, suggesting the sustainability field remains male-dominated overall.

The gender gap narrows to about 50-50 in corporate roles and among experts in North America. Around the world, newcomers to the profession are more likely to be women.

Of those who do not identify as a male,* more than one-third say discrimination has negatively affected their career in sustainability.

These findings show that the sustainability profession is not immune to the gender discrimination affecting other sectors and that there is a lot of work to do to combat gender discrimination in the field.

Notes:

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Report | State of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Sustainability Professionals

In this report, we share findings based on responses to a number of diversity questions that we asked as part of a larger GlobeScan-SustainAbility Survey, Evaluating Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which was published in February 2021 with our partners from The Sustainability Institute by ERM.

The intention was to explore the current state of diversity among the sustainability professionals who take our surveys, and to find out whether and how women and/or those belonging to one or more minority groups feel their careers have been affected by the way that they self-identify.

As the sample sizes presented here are relatively small, findings are indicative. Nevertheless, we believe they represent important insights into the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in the industry and suggest that there are significant issues that need to be resolved to enable the full potential of all sustainability professionals.

This report is based on responses from the 496 sustainability professionals from 75 countries who completed the SDG survey.

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Social and Environmental Values Increasingly Drive Consumers’ Choices, According to New Research

Nearly nine in ten people who recognise the Fairtrade label trust it, compared with much lower trust in companies’ self-reported sustainability performance

People are paying more attention than ever to the conditions behind the products they buy as a way to make a difference in the world, according to new research findings released by GlobeScan and Fairtrade International today.

Conducted by GlobeScan in 15 countries and reaching more than 15,000 people, the consumer survey points to everyday shopping choices as an increasingly important way for people to express their values, with the Fairtrade sustainability label serving as a clear signal of trustworthiness.

Visibility of ethical and environmental labels remains high, with 76 percent of respondents saying that they’ve seen these types of labels. Fairtrade is the most recognized and trusted label – nearly seven in ten people have seen it, and of these, nearly nine in ten of them trust the label. Public opinion research conducted by GlobeScan in 2020 shows that only around half of respondents say they trust companies’ communications about their own social and environmental performance.

This is borne out by GlobeScan’s public opinion research showing that fair wages, fair employee treatment, and protecting the environment are among consumers’ top expectations of companies. Overall, GlobeScan has seen significant increases in the public’s expectations of companies to act responsibly, with attitudes intensifying during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than half of respondents say they have changed their purchasing choices within the past year to make a difference on an economic, social, environmental, or political issue, even more than those who voted or donated money – indicating that people increasingly see their everyday shopping as an important way to make a difference.

In the Fairtrade-GlobeScan consumer research study, more than seven in ten feel that by buying Fairtrade, they are standing together with the farmers and producers who grow our food. Nearly seven in ten feel that they are part of a community standing up for fairness and justice when they buy Fairtrade. And the label has a halo effect on brands, with 78 percent of those who have seen the Mark saying it has a positive impact on the brands that carry it.

Demographically, younger people (aged 18–34) are more likely than older generations to recognize ethical and environmental labels, at around 85 percent, according to the Fairtrade-GlobeScan consumer research survey. This group is also slightly more likely to report buying one or more Fairtrade products per month than their older counterparts.

“Around the world, consumers are increasingly acting on their values and displaying an openness to paying a little more for products that are ethically and sustainably produced, especially when it comes to tackling poverty and unjust labour conditions,” said Dr. Nyagoy Nyong’o, Fairtrade International’s Global CEO.

“At the same time, Fairtrade farmers and workers are doing their part, for instance by improving farming methods, adapting to climate change, and expanding positive opportunities for women and young people,” Dr. Nyong’o added. “That’s why everyone who chooses Fairtrade is making a commitment to join with farmers and workers to create the fairer, more sustainable world that we all want.”

The latest research was shared as part of Fairtrade International’s General Assembly, taking place this week in Nairobi. This annual meeting brings together equal representation of Fairtrade producers and national organizations to decide on membership issues, approve the annual accounts, and ratify new board members.

“GlobeScan has been tracking ethical consumer trends for more than 20 years and we have recently seen significant increases in people wanting to make more socially and environmentally responsible shopping choices. But we know that behaviour lags attitudes, so ethical labels like Fairtrade can be valuable trusted guides for busy shoppers,” said Caroline Holme, Senior Director at GlobeScan.


Related Content: How to Market a Sustainable Product Online

Rose Price, Buying Director at Ocado, and Caroline Holme, Senior Director at GlobeScan, sat down to give their best tips in a Fairtrade webinar earlier this year. In this Fairtrade blog post, they have crystallised their wisdom into top tips to help you sell authentically and successfully online.


For more information please contact


Notes for the editor

The 2021 Fairtrade-GlobeScan consumer research was conducted in February and March 2021 in 15 countries with a sample of 15,418 respondents. The countries are Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain/Iberia, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA.

The 2020 GlobeScan research is from the GlobeScan Radar, a survey of 27,000 people in the general public in June 2020.


About Fairtrade International

Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions, and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries.

Fairtrade International is an independent non-profit organization representing 1.7 million small-scale farmers and workers worldwide. It owns the FAIRTRADE Mark, a registered trademark of Fairtrade that appears on more than 30,000 products. Beyond certification, Fairtrade International and its member organizations empower producers, partner with businesses, engage consumers, and advocate for a fair and sustainable future. Find out more at http://www.fairtrade.net.

Insight of the Week: Four Key Drivers of Inequality in the Coming Years

Four Key Drivers of Inequality in the Coming Years

Major Trends, 2021

Rising inequality is a defining challenge of our time and current approaches to addressing it are perceived to be highly insufficient.

A multi-stakeholder research project identified four mega-trends (health, future of work, social divisions, and climate change) both as drivers and as possible areas for solutions to respond to this complex challenge.

These wider cross-cutting trends provide a great starting point for identifying pathways to effective action in addressing inequality.

Notes:

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Insight of the Week: One in Seven in Gen Z Have Protested to Make a Difference

One in Seven in Gen Z Have Protested to Make a Difference​

Protested Publicly to Make a Difference on Issues
By Generation, Average of 27 Countries, 2020

Issues engagement and demographics both suggest that we are increasingly moving into an age of activism, where younger generations are more likely to use their voices to affect change. Fifteen percent of those belonging to Gen Z say they have protested publicly at events and rallies in the past year to make a difference on an economic, environmental, social, or political issue that they care about. People in Africa and Latin America, both continents with relatively more youthful populations, are more likely to say they have attended a protest than those living in other regions.

Notes:

  • Question wording: In the past year, have you done any of the following to make a difference on an economic, environmental, social or political issue that you care about? Please select all that apply.
  • Data sourceGlobeScan Radar, our 27-country, 27,000-person public opinion study on views of business, government and NGOs, issues tracking, and shifting societal expectations.

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Insight of the Week: Women Are Significantly More Likely Than Men to Use Their Buying Power to Make a Difference

Women Are Significantly More Likely Than Men to Use Their Buying Power to Make a Difference ​

Changed Purchase Choices to Make a Difference on Issues
By Gender, Average of 27 Countries, 2020

GlobeScan’s data consistently show that women are more concerned about social and environmental issues and are more likely to use their power as consumers to address these concerns. Data show that females are significantly more likely than males to say they have changed their purchasing choices in the past year to make a difference on an economic, environmental, social, or political issue that they care about. This suggests a massive opportunity to engage women to help drive the sustainability agenda from both a policy and consumer perspective.

Notes:

  • Question wording: In the past year, have you done any of the following to make a difference on an economic, environmental, social or political issue that you care about? Please select all that apply.
  • Data source GlobeScan’s 2020 Healthy & Sustainable Living Report, survey of 27,000 people in the general public in June 2020.

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Recognizing Leaders: Mahesh Pratap Singh, Flipkart

Flipkart first started operations in 2007, and, since then, has almost single-handedly driven the adoption of e-commerce in India. Starting with books, Flipkart today offers 150 million products across 80+ categories, has a registered customer base of over 300 million, and delivers across all 20,000+ pin codes in India. The levers Flipkart has used to scale the e-commerce industry are innovation and technology.

GlobeScan’s India Director Anup Guruvugari spoke with Mahesh Pratap Singh the Head of Sustainability and Social Responsibility at Flipkart about embedding sustainability into the business as they continue to grow.

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What are some of the key highlights of Flipkart’s sustainability journey?

Sustainability has always been very deeply embedded in our DNA. Recently, we have brought a little bit more structure to it by creating a centralised sustainability function. This has accelerated progress by bringing in access to global best practices and really driving cross-functional collaboration. For example, we were already doing a lot of experimentation around mobility with electric vehicles but decided to give this effort a new definition of success by becoming a member of The Climate Group’s EV100 in which we pledged to transition our entire fleet to electric by 2030 and install charging for staff at 1,400 last mile hubs. So, it has been remarkable to see the kind of support we have got across stakeholders, employees, and that keeps us going in terms of taking even bolder stretch targets to accelerate our progress in the sustainability agenda.

Can you share some of your challenges?

Because we are a marketplace, and do not manufacture the goods we sell, one of our biggest challenges is our ability to move the needle and nudge our stakeholders to make progress. One example is packaging: a lot of sellers make their own packaging decisions. So how do you nudge them? We must go beyond saying ‘we recommend you do this,’ and instead empower them to be able to make the choices which are affordable, available, and scalable on their own home ground. The exciting part is as a new age company, you have the opportunity to really bring stakeholders along and shape the ecosystem.

With more people staying at home, have you seen growth in the uptake of products supporting a healthy and sustainable lifestyle? Do you have any specific focus on driving this trend?

I think there are segments where there is an appetite for locally sourced, greener products, but I would say we are still in the very early stages. However, given how large the market is, there is opportunity. We recently launched a programme called Flipkart Samarth. Any product that you buy from a Samarth storefront is genuinely coming from a local artisan, weaver, or handcrafter. This is something which will evolve with consumers becoming more aware of choices, with more communication around the footprint of the choices, what it does for planet, community, and society. Flipkart as a platform is trying to enable that conversation.

How has the discussion been around ESG in a market like India?

I have a unique vantage point given that I was in investor relations for more than a decade, and now sit on the other side of the fence, looking at the operating aspect of environmental, social and governance issues. It is a topic which has become of immense importance, particularly with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic in how resilient and future proof the business is when it comes to its ability to operate in harmony with the needs of planet, its responsibility to community and society around it; and operating a business in a fair and ethical way. Investors are increasingly paying more attention to this, which you can see in the form of more ESG-focused funds being launched, mutual funds and private equity funds focusing on ESG and so on. There are challenges as well – ESG at the heart of it is still very subjective. There is a lot of effort being put into driving more objectivity and standardisation in terms of how ESG gets reported.

What do you think will be the key trends around sustainable e-commerce in the next five years?

Firstly, I think you are going to see a lot of importance being ascribed to the entire value chain, and how you look at a product moving from point A to point B and minimise that footprint – from an environmental standpoint, how do you look at inclusiveness in terms of making sure that ecommerce reaches beyond the top 500 cities in the hinterlands and gets to tier two and three cities. Secondly, I see a move towards the entire ecosystem playing a part in these big goals. For larger players like us, as we pledge more audacious goals, we need to continue to enable the entire ecosystem to come forward and support us in making the goals a reality in our operating environment.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic altered your sustainability strategy both internally and externally?

When you embark on a sustainability strategy, you are committing to moving the needle over an extended period of time, spending time building the foundation before you really start seeing the results. So, to that extent I think COVID-19 has brought a lot more focus to these issues externally from the ecosystem standpoint. We have used this time to embed sustainability even more deeply within our business, and a lot of our commitments have continued to move in the right direction. It has established more interconnectedness between planet, people and business which has allowed for much broader conversations with stakeholders. As an example, in June 2020 we organized a virtual sustainable action summit, convening 500 to 600 people where we had an open dialogue that created more buy-in and support for our journey.

What are the major challenges that you see for any Indian corporation towards achieving Net Zero?

Corporations play a very important part in this journey. The world is not going to achieve its climate or SDG targets without India. India is in a strong position because we have leadership which strongly believes in these causes at a federal level, and that is driving progress at this stage. Within that, corporations play an important role because India’s sustainable development and climate needs are massive. India has mandated corporate social responsibility; whereby large companies must spend a minimum of 2% of average profit from the past 3 financial years on CSR. Given how large the market is, one challenge is the number of sectors that are in the early stage of their evolution – there are no plug and play solutions, there is no legacy. The advantage, however, is that we have a relatively clean slate to work with which allows us to stretch our definition of where we will play and how we will play. The second trade-off to being in such early stages, is that while you are planning for the long-term, you cannot really wait for the perfect answers to evolve. This means you may have to do things in the short-term which will still make you better than where you are, but that may not necessarily be your end goal. So, it is a fine balance in that sense, where people will have to take a leap of faith at times and hopefully longer-term answers will evolve along the way.

Insight of the Week: Experts’ Perceptions of Business Performance on Sustainable Development Are Trending Down

Experts’ Perceptions of Business Performance on Sustainable Development Are Trending Down​

Performance on Contribution to Sustainable Development
% of Experts, “Excellent” (4+5), 2012–2020

Expert perceptions of the private sector’s contribution to sustainable development have dropped after peaking in 2018, placing business among the lowest-rated institutions but ahead of national governments. Meanwhile, positive expert assessment of citizen-led movements has strengthened over the past two years. NGOs continue to be the most positively viewed by sustainability professionals in terms of their work on sustainable development.

Notes:

  • Question wording: How would you rate the performance of each of the following types of organizations in terms of its contribution to progress on sustainable development since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio?
  • Data sourceGlobeScan / SustainAbility Survey of over 700 experts representing business, government, NGOs and academia across 71 countries​.

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