The Forecast

Applying creativity to address the world’s most urgent problems

Lucy Aitken Head Of Content LIONS Intelligence

Welcome to The Forecast

At LIONS, we are in the unique and privileged position of having a helicopter view of the global creative industry. This gives us unparalleled access to people who can spot trends and offer insights and guidance. Following the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), this edition of The Forecast is about how creativity can help address some of the world’s most urgent challenges.

An accelerated interest in the planet

The 2020-2021 Sustainable Development Goals Lions, awarded in June 2021, showed brands’ accelerated interest in the planet: entries that focused on sustainability and climate change had increased from one quarter to one third of all entries since the Sustainable Development Goals Lions were launched in 2018.

This mirrors research from Hall & Partners indicating that protecting the environment and working together towards a more sustainable future is the number one value shift globally in the wake of the pandemic.

2021: a milestone

The interest around COP26 was unprecedented, and there are now expectations from consumers to see brands stepping up. This report will show how you can learn from other brands and businesses and includes a sector focus on fashion and some of the creative thinking within that industry to tackle unnecessary waste and change consumer behaviour.

The SDG Lions 2020-2021

Three takeaways from this report

Investigate alternatives to ownership

Consumers are looking to brands to help them consume less and more mindfully. Consider how you can help them by creatively incorporating more sustainable alternatives to purchase, such as rental or peer-to-peer lending, into your business model.

Be part of the solution, not the problem

Stick the Sustainable Development Goals up on a wall and incorporate them into every creative review.

Assist with behaviour change

Consumers want to make a difference, so help them change their habits and behaviours by using creativity to power desirable, sustainable options. Inform them, incentivise them and, above all, make it easy for them.

Five sustainability trends

Sustainability experts at sister Ascential company WGSN share their thinking on sustainability trends that will be important for creative businesses

Olivia Barnes Strategist – Materials, Textiles and Knitwear WGSN

Emma Grace Bailey Senior Strategist WGSN

1- Transparency and traceability

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents in an IBM survey said that traceability of products is important to them, with 71% indicating that they would be willing to change their shopping habits for brands that provide transparency. Retailers including Carrefour and Starbucks are teaming up with tech giants like Microsoft and IBM to show shoppers the provenance of products bought in-store.

2- Sustainability at scale

Engage different groups and take them with you; don’t limit your efforts to young audiences. Be aware of different audience profiles, needs and desires using targeted communication strategies that tap into lifestyle trends. And make better quality products that last longer for all consumers, not just those who can afford a higher price point. Brands need to tackle their popular, existing products first and make them more sustainable, rather than creating one-off tokenistic products that are inaccessible in terms of price and availability.

3- The rise of localism

Develop stories around local economies and products: these are compelling to consumers.

4- Progress, not perfection

If only part of your product can be recycled, communicate that to consumers; don’t wait for perfect. Avoid greenwashing; go for transparency and honesty instead.

5- Reuse to reduce waste

Lockdowns made us more aware of the waste we generate. Help consumers reduce their waste with refillable and reusable products. Build rental and resale options into your business and raise awareness of them as sustainable alternatives.