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At the beginning of the year, Havas fielded its latest global Prosumer study, “ReACT,” in 28 countries, before COVID-19 was on most people’s radar. Even then, the world was in crisis mode—battling ecological and social catastrophes. Anxiety was increasing, and calls for radical change were gaining momentum. Our global survey found strong support for brands and companies to move from soft to more radical change, which has only become more prevalent as we continue to weather the pandemic. At the time of the study, there was plenty to worry about: More than 3 in 4 Prosumers were concerned about air, water, and soil pollution; species extinction; resource depletion; and climate change. While the impact of COVID-19 could not have been anticipated, even then, everyone seemed to be aware of the catastrophic situation we face when it comes to our planet. Our “ReACT” study demonstrated the desire for radicalism, and strong expectations by consumers for brands and businesses to move from mild to more drastic actions to offset true change.

As COVID-19 hit the world, the Prosumer team fielded a second survey, this one in seven countries, seeking to understand how the pandemic would accelerate people’s desire for change and in which ways. You can read ‘Beyond COVID-19’ here.

Key Findings

  • Consumers are on a quest for radical change: Most people—including 3 in 4 Prosumers—believe solving the big issues we face will require radical action. A third of the study’s youngest respondents (aged 18-34) think solving the climate crisis will require a complete reorganization of government and society.
  • Catastrophic predictions are discouraging people from acting: Fear is foe and many respondents think catastrophic forecasts regarding the state of the environment make their efforts redundant. People seek a reason to believe that our efforts matter and that a brighter future is within our grasp. More than three-quarters of respondents engage more with brands that promote a strong vision of the future. Even more people—82%—think consumers would be more motivated to act if they were shown the beauty of all we risk losing rather than reports focused on the bleak reality of eco-destruction. 
  • Consumers have a trust deficit: Around 60% of Prosumers don’t trust brands’ sustainability commitments and believe they are only an effort to improve their corporate image. Most people believe that companies are on the wrong side of the battle against climate change, using their economic might to persuade governments not to make meaningful advances on sustainability and reduced consumption.
  • Big is a risk. Big is better: The majority of respondents expect businesses to play a key role in change and believe that larger companies are better equipped to bring about fundamental transformation. Prosumers are convinced that size matters and 71% think it is the larger companies that will be most effective in creating a better world.
  • Individuals can make an impact on plastic consumption:  Seventy percent of Prosumers consider plastic among society’s worst inventions, but most people don’t think industry deserves all the blame. Almost all Prosumers (95%) and 82% of the mainstream believe it is the responsibility of consumers to solve the crisis caused by plastic packaging. Meanwhile, around three-quarters of Prosumers think the government should take immediate action against poor consumption choices, banning single-use plastics and excess packaging and eliminating the shipment of waste to poorer countries.

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