The United Nations describes climate change as the ‘defining issue of our time’, with an impact that is global in scope and unprecedented in scale. People in the UK now consider its importance to be second only to the pandemic. Yet, action has failed to keep pace with increased awareness. the7stars joined forces with Global to identify three key areas where brands can help bridge the intention-to-action gap.

Creating urgency. Sustainability is too broad an issue; we must break it down to make it accessible and relevant to consumers. Communication, channels, and content each contribute differently to engaging consumers with more digestible material.

Brands need to understand the exact commitments to sustainability within their own business in order to identify a clear role to play in creating urgency. Whilst brands must consider the consumer experience of their conversation, viewing it through the lens of sustainability.

Bringing it home. Climate change tends to slip down the national agenda in the event of other global crises. However, Covid has had the opposite effect and put climate change in front of people’s minds by highlighting the impact consumers are having on the world around us. 

Thus, brands need to maintain this momentum, such as visible commitments across packaging, owned touchpoints and activities within paid advertising. Brands must also think through the lens of the consumerNearly half the day is driven by habit, so focus on micro-moments of routine to unlock new opportunities to shift behavioural change. Finally, with people giving more time and attention to their local area, they must harness the power of local for brand interaction in emotive community spaces.

Making it easy. Research suggested that the onus for environmental issues previously fell upon major groups like the government, however, 80% now agree that sustainability is everyone’s responsibility. Yet, for many consumers barriers still exist – the top three being lack of resources, education and not knowing how to start.  

There’s an appetite to make change, but the scale of the challenge, the abundance of information and the multiplicity of choice have bewildered people into inertia. With sustainability an unexpected by-product of lockdown, it’s up to brands to simplify the challenge and reframe their message for good.

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