Out of the ashes of the pandemic we’re beginning to see the emergence of a new class of customer, one that is going to have a profound influence on all consumer-facing marketers.
Dubbed the “conscious consumer” by consulting giant Accenture, the evidence is clear that the pandemic turned out to be rocket fuel for the sustainability movement and for public engagement. We’re way past arguing over spotted owls; headlines like, “Your Cat Is Killing The Earth;” and trendy slogans like “Green Is The New Black.”
In ways large and small, COVID-19 forced us all to slow down, look around, and notice just how wasteful a species we are. In China, residents of Beijing discovered what a crisp fall day is supposed to look like, without the gray fog of pollution that usually covers the city and obscures the sun. Americans rediscovered the pleasures of driving on roads unchoked by traffic. We also watched in guilty awe as our recycling bins overflowed with packaging from online purchases, and the neighbors took notice.
We are all taking note, says Scot Case, Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility at the National Retail Federation. Ecommerce packaging and trash generated by the explosion of take-out dining made “more and more consumers aware of how much waste there is. People who didn’t used to think about these issues are suddenly thinking about them and realizing there has to be a better way to do it.”