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consumerconsumer           futuresfutures2020                                 decoleasescenarios for tomorrow’s consumers
aboutConsumer Futures 2020 has been led by Forum for the Future in partnership with Sainsbury’s and Unilever.            F...
contentsforeword                                     4   from me to you                             42Introduction        ...
forewordWe can be sure of one thing about the future: it will be radically different    Sainsbury’s, Unilever and Forum fo...
“Consumers of the future will think, act and live very differently from how   We are pleased to have been able to work wit...
introduction“… people are being persuaded to spend money we don’t have, on               Retail businesses are used to res...
commun                                                                                                                    ...
how to use the scenarios                                                              “Marketers have woken up to the resp...
scenariosThe Consumer Futures scenarios present plausible future developments,                                          on...
accounts for 68% of the greenhouse gas footprint of Unilever’s portfolio       In order to create our scenarios, we took t...
Prosperous                                ‘my way’                                                        ‘sell it to me’ ...
how sustainable are these futures?The Consumer Futures scenarios help us understand what mainstream              •	   A be...
Happily, there are aspects of sustainable consumption in all four                   •	   In ‘From me to you’, communities ...
recommendationsSainsbury’s, Unilever and Forum for the Future have collaborated              Companies should be ready to ...
Strengthen local brands and local production                                  transparency from brands. Businesses which o...
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers
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Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers

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developed nations we live in an unprecedented world of super-consumption. Our economy demands that we consume to keep it growing healthily. Marketing campaigns whisper “buy-me, buy-me”, and before we know it our homes are filled with ‘stuff’. We love to consume and it is firmly engrained as a social norm - a (sometimes) fun, (mostly) daily activity the majority of us partake in. Globally we already consume 30% more resources each year than our planet can replenish. But if everyone consumed at European rates we would need three planets, and Americans have a five-planet lifestyle.

It’s clear we cannot go on this way. We face unprecedented challenges, such as accelerating climate change, loss of biodiversity, rising social inequalities, rapid population growth and growing demand for water and key commodities. We must adapt our societies and economies to sustainable patterns of consumption – low if not zero-carbon, resource-efficient and profitable - as soon as we can.

“Sustainability will continue to rise higher up the agenda over the coming years, so it is key that brands work to ensure they can respond to consumer demand. Being a sustainable company is not about box ticking, it’s about future-proofing your business and building trust and brand loyalty that will last for years to come.”
- Justin King, Chief Executive, J Sainsbury plc

Retail businesses are used to responding to consumer demand, or ‘pull’ – it is their principal business driver - but this will not deliver the radical changes we need to create a prosperous, resource-efficient world. Most consumers don’t have enough information, opportunity or motivation to make sustainable choices about how they buy and use products, so ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ consumption is still niche and companies make only incremental improvements. Leading brands need to take the initiative and work together to stimulate consumer pull on sustainability and make ‘sustainable consumption’ mainstream.

Consumer Futures 2020 aims to help them do this. It is designed as a practical tool to help organisations throughout the global consumer goods industry plan for the future. It contains four different but entirely plausible scenarios which explore how patterns of consumption and consumer behaviour may have changed by 2020.

The scenarios are not intended to be predictions or visions of desired futures. They look at how global trends may change our world and the consumer goods industry, and how sustainable products, services and business models could become mainstream.

“The old model of ever greater consumption, with growth at any price, is broken. Companies that succeed in the future will be those that reduce their environmental impact whilst increasing their social and economic impacts.”
- Amanda Sourry, Chairman, Unilever UK & Ireland

Future scenarios are an invaluable tool for forward thinking businesses to use when planning Read more at http://www.for

Published in: Business, Technology

Transcript of "Consumer futures-2020 Scenario's for tomorrow consumers"

  1. 1. consumerconsumer futuresfutures2020 decoleasescenarios for tomorrow’s consumers
  2. 2. aboutConsumer Futures 2020 has been led by Forum for the Future in partnership with Sainsbury’s and Unilever. Forum for the Future: Overseas House 19–23 Ironmonger RowForum for the Future London, EC1V 3QNForum for the Future is a non-profit organisation working globally with business and government to create a United Kingdomsustainable future. We aim to transform the critical systems that we all depend on, such as food, energy and Registered charity number: 1040519finance, to make them fit for the challenges of the 21st century. We have 15 years’ experience inspiring new Company limited by guarantee in the UK and Wales: 2959712thinking, building creative partnerships and developing practical innovations to change our world.www.forumforthefuture.org. Date of publication: October 2011 Forum for the Future authors:Sainsbury’s Fiona Bennie, Dan Crossley, James Goodman,J Sainsbury plc was founded in the UK in 1869 and today operates a total of 934 stores comprising 557 Jemima Jewell, Hugh Knowles, Sally Urensupermarkets and 377 convenience stores. The Sainsbury’s brand is built upon a heritage of providing Forum for the Future support team:customers with healthy, safe, fresh and tasty food. Quality and fair prices go hand-in-hand with a responsible Ruth Curran, David Mason, Ulrike Steinapproach to business. Sainsbury’s stores have a particular emphasis on fresh food, and we strive to innovate Special thanks to the Sainsbury’s and Unilevercontinuously and improve products in line with our customer needs. We now serve over 22 million customers teams for their contribution to this project.a week and have a market share of over 16 per cent. Our large stores offer around 30,000 products and we For more information please contact:offer complementary non-food products and services in many of our stores. An internet-based home delivery Fiona Bennie f.bennie@forumforthefuture.orgshopping service is also available to nearly 93 per cent of UK households. We employ over 150,000 colleagues. Dan Crossley d.crossley@forumforthefuture.orgwww.sainsburys.co.uk. Design by: Ian Dera www.iandera.comUnileverUnilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast-moving consumer goods. Consumers buy 170 billionUnilever packs around the world every year, and our products are used over two billion times a day. Our portfolioincludes some of the world’s most loved brands including Knorr, Hellmann’s, PG Tips, Lipton, Dove, Vaseline,Persil, Cif, Flora and Marmite. We have around 167,000 employees in over 100 countries, and generated annualsales of €44.3 billion in 2010. For more information please visit www.unilever.com and www.sustainable-living.unilever.com. To find out more and download the Consumer Futures toolkit go to: http://www.forumforthefuture.org/project/ consumer-futures/overview
  3. 3. contentsforeword 4 from me to you 42Introduction 6 summary 43the scenarios 9 indicators 44Recommendations 14 the journey to this world 45 products and services 46my way 16 what kind of world are we living in? 48 summary 17 shopping experience 51 indicators 18 suzie’s shampoo story 54 the journey to this world 19 products and services 20 I’m in your hands 56 what kind of world are we living in? 22 summary 57 shopping experience 25 indicators 58 suzie’s shampoo story 28 the journey to this world 59 products and services 60sell it to me 30 what kind of world are we living in? 62 summary 31 shopping experience 65 indicators 32 suzie’s shampoo story 67 the journey to this world 33 products and services 34 what kind of world are we living in? 36 shopping experience 38 suzie’s shampoo story 40 page 3
  4. 4. forewordWe can be sure of one thing about the future: it will be radically different Sainsbury’s, Unilever and Forum for the Future have jointly producedfrom today. The global recession shows how quickly things can change – Consumer Futures as a practical tool to help organisations throughoutand we face much greater challenges to our economy and way of life, such the global consumer goods industry to prepare for the future. We want toas scarcity of key resources, rapid population growth, climate change and help them explore how consumer expectations and behaviour will changeloss of biodiversity. These problems of sustainability affect our consumers and use these new insights to take the lead in driving forward sustainableand suppliers around the globe and are putting ever-increasing pressure consumption.on our business models. They make it essential for us to reorient our globaleconomy around sustainable, low-carbon patterns of consumption. We have combined our knowledge of product value chains, consumer demand, behaviour change and sustainability to produce four plausible,Over the next 10 years we can expect major changes to the consumer provocative scenarios which explore possible patterns of consumptionretail sector. Demand for basic resources such as oil, water and staple in 2020. Brands are used to drawing on recent market data and near-crops is likely to increase and prices will rise. Consumers’ behaviour and term market projections to help develop products and services but thisexpectations will change: we expect growing demand for manufacturers tends to encourage only incremental change. By looking further aheadand retailers to operate responsibly and to demonstrate this through and understanding what the future may hold, we can identify risks andtransparent value chains. Successful brands will need to innovate to meet opportunities and even how we can help shape that future. We plan tochallenges like these, develop sustainable products, services and business use the scenarios and accompanying tools to inspire innovation, informmodels, and work with consumers to make them a success. business strategy and develop sustainable business models. We urge you to do the same.This represents a huge opportunity for forward-thinking brands to positionthemselves at the heart of the new, green economy, evolving the market We hope you find Consumer Futures provocative and inspiring. We lookto meet consumer needs in different, sustainable ways. Many brands have forward to sharing our sustainable innovations as we develop them, andbuilt a trusted relationship with millions of consumers, and with it brand hope Consumer Futures will help the consumer goods industry to make aloyalty, which can last a lifetime. We believe this gives them both the power fundamental shift towards sustainable consumption.and the responsibility to help people lead better, more sustainable lives. Infact, it’s hard to see sustainable consumption becoming mainstream unlessbrands take the lead. (return to contents page) page 4
  5. 5. “Consumers of the future will think, act and live very differently from how We are pleased to have been able to work with Forum for the Future andthey do now. As such, Consumer Futures is a fascinating and useful insight Sainsbury’s on Consumer Futures to help us in doing this.”that can help brands position themselves and their products to meet thesenew consumer needs. With the recent launch of our 2020 sustainabilityplan we are responding to these changes. Leadership is crucial to helpingcustomers change to more sustainable behaviours and we are delighted to Amanda Sourry, Chairman, Unilever UK & Irelandhave worked with both Unilever and Forum for the Future on creating thisvaluable insight.” “Consumer Futures shows that mainstream sustainable consumption doesn’t have to remain a pipedream. By exploring how key environmental, economic and social trends might play out over the next few years, weJustin King, Chief Executive, J Sainsbury plc have created four possible future worlds which focus on consumers’ attitudes and purchasing behaviours. In each scenario, external social and environmental pressures drive sustainable goods and services“Companies will have to change the way they do business, to deliver long- into the mainstream, whether or not consumers actively demand themterm sustainable growth. The old model of ever-greater consumption, with and regardless of whether the global economy is thriving or subdued.growth at any price, is broken. Companies that succeed in the future will Consumer Futures shows that there is a clear opportunity, today, for smartbe those that reduce their environmental impact while increasing their brands and businesses to make money by accelerating the transition tosocial and economic impacts. This will only be possible if we find new a sustainable future. This will mean making it easy for consumers to goways of doing business and this is why Unilever introduced its Sustainable green by offering products and services which are not just better for theLiving Plan which sets out a more sustainable business model. environment but healthier, cheaper and longer-lasting.”It will become ever-more important for us to anticipate the future needsand expectations of our consumers so that we can drive sustainablegrowth and ensure our own long term future. Dr Sally Uren, Deputy CEO, Forum for the Future (return to contents page) page 5
  6. 6. introduction“… people are being persuaded to spend money we don’t have, on Retail businesses are used to responding to consumer demand, orthings we don’t need, to create impressions that won’t last, on people ‘pull’ – it is their principal business driver – but this will not deliver thewe don’t care about” – Tim Jackson, Prosperity without Growth radical changes we need to create a prosperous, resource-efficient world. Most consumers don’t have enough information, opportunity or motivationIn developed nations we live in an unprecedented world of super- to make sustainable choices about how they buy and use products, soconsumption. Our economy demands that we consume to keep it growing ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ consumption is still niche, and companies makehealthily. Every day marketing campaigns whisper “buy-me, buy-me”, only incremental improvements. Leading brands need to take the initiativeand before we know it our homes are filled with ‘stuff’, much of which we and work together to stimulate consumer pull on sustainability and makequickly forget. We love to consume, and it is firmly engrained as a social sustainable consumption mainstream. Consumer Futures 2020 aims tonorm – a (sometimes) fun, (mostly) daily activity that the majority of us help them do just that.partake in. Globally, we already consume 30% more resources each yearthan our planet can replenish. Developed nations are the worst offenders:if everyone consumed at European rates we would need three planets;Americans have a five-planet lifestyle.1It’s clear we cannot go on this way. We face unprecedented challenges,such as accelerating climate change, loss of biodiversity, rising socialinequalities, rapid population growth, and growing demand for water andkey commodities. The UK Government, for example, has set the mostchallenging, legally binding carbon reduction target any country has madethus far – 50% reduction of emissions by 2025. And the global emissions 1 Goncalves, E. (2008). One Planet Lifestyle, WWF [online] http://assets.panda.org/downloads/target as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate opl_ebooklet.pdfChange (IPCC) is 80% reduction by 2050.2 We must adapt our societies 2 IPCC, 2007: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Workingand economies to sustainable patterns of consumption – low if not zero- Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [B. Metz, O.R. Davidson, P.R. Bosch, R. Dave, L.A. Meyer (eds)], Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,carbon, resource-efficient and profitable – as soon as we can. United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. (return to contents page) page 6
  7. 7. commun ity land allotme rhoo d church nts n e ig h b o u smallho l d in g swhat is consumer futures?Consumer Futures 2020 is designed as a practical tool to helporganisations throughout the global consumer goods industry plan forthe future. It contains four different but entirely plausible scenarios whichexplore how patterns of consumption and consumer behaviour may havechanged by 2020. hyd rop onic adv anc ed gla ss tec hno log yThe scenarios are not intended to be predictions or visions of desiredfutures. They look at how global trends may change our world and the : ‘und erg rou nd veg ’ in ve s tm e nt d a teconsumer goods industry, and how sustainable products, services and mov eme nt 18 th ju ne 2 0 2 0business models could become mainstream. For example, in the scenarios d na me : ch ri s fl oywe share examples of products and services with greatly reduced impacts 43 68 12 67 8in the use-phase, and where take-back schemes at the end of product lifeare the norm. Many of the examples of sustainable consumption featured in lConsumer Futures already exist, but are still niche. Others were generated low -sun ligh t veg eta ble s dthrough the project process, which involved updating a set of scenarios gro wn in bas eme ntsdescribing possible futures for the retail sector first published in 2007(Retail Futures). None of the ideas, fictional brands or stories in any of the re moo arm s haresConsumer Futures materials are predictions of what the future will hold – di re ct io ns fo r ry orf f har d f arm to: m: fin e’s findorf FR UG Al us e: ro her that f ry, dthey are simply designed to bring the scenarios to life. pl ea se us e c e r t if y t h is is t oo o r e o w n s 10 0 ar r h bir w dea early at ne re sp on si bl y fo r harry m shares an ice th is su pe r lo ng lif e: not duce e. co pro ilabl d ava ng anFuture scenarios are an invaluable tool for forward-thinking businesses to 1. la th er alo cken! 2. ri ns e chiuse when planning ahead. They help identify risks and opportunities, inform 3. do no t re pe atstrategy development, and stimulate innovation. Sainsbury’s and Unileverare already using them to explore new ways of collaborating on initiativesthat will deliver sustainability and commercial benefit to both organisations. (return to contents page) page 7
  8. 8. how to use the scenarios “Marketers have woken up to the responsibilities and opportunities fromThe scenarios are accompanied by a toolkit which provides clear sustainability. All they need now is the right tools. Consumer Futures willguidance, methods and tools to help make best use of the scenarios. act as prompt to stimulate and interrogate thinking and provides a richIt includes six sketched-up products and services for each scenario resource for our clients, as well as for us at Dragon Rouge, to develop theillustrating how brands may meet consumer needs in 2020; a set of brands and innovations that will thrive in a sustainable future.”personas which can be used to analyse the scenarios from different Dorothy Mackenzie, Chairman, Dragon Rougeconsumer perspectives; and a set of indicators setting the context foreach scenario, for example the price of oil and consumer attitudes to ‘from me to you’ ‘my ‘sell it way’ to me’ indicators ‘from me ‘i’m in your hands’environmental issues. to you’ raw mat eri als debt trust food impor ts inequ ality Average UK adult debt % of people who say that most people % of food consumed in UK that is imported oil barrel UK index of inequality (Gini coefficient ; high is less equal) including mortgage in their neighbourh ood can be trusted 65% Price of oil per 70% 50%We envisage that Consumer Futures will be used by businesses internally, £50k 60% 52% end of life $155 man ufa ctu ring $150 56% 62% $124 40% £40k 50% 39% 38% 42% 30% 34% £30k 32k $93 30k 26%particularly across R&D, Innovation and Marketing, and externally, to 27% ? $90 28% $62 20% £20k 13% 14% value $31 10% £10k 0% 0% 2011 2020collaborate with suppliers, and also by consultancies working with $0 2011 2020 0% 2011 2020 £0k 2011 2020 2011 2020 attitu des to onme nt envirsay that environment / chain nanot ech house hold spendonbusinesses, as a creative way to engage teams and individuals on the super mark et powe4r who % of people of household expenditure that goes online spend % pollution should be a government priority Number of nanotech- food and (non-alcoho lic) drink % of UK grocery market taken by top % spent online based consumer products 30% 70% supermarke ts 32% 9000 90% 30% 24% 56%exciting opportunities ahead for sustainability. 72% 76% 25.6% 19.2% 7200 5400 18% 24% 42% 35% 40% 54% 55% 12% 15% 28% personas 12.8% 3600 36% 6% 14% 8.4% 10% 1800 1500 0% 18% 1300 0% 2020 • lo uis e wa s br ou gh 0% 0 2011 2020 2011 0% 2011 2020 con sum er useThe scenarios are developed from Forum for the Future’s four ‘Retail 2011 2020 dis trib utio 2011 2020 n t up in th e co unt ry an d st ill liv es in th e page 44 sa me vil la ge . • al th ou gh lo uis e isFutures’ scenarios, published in 2007 after extensive desk research and Ret ail sm al l cir cl e of go od sin gl e, sh e ha s a fr ien ds an d he r fa mil y al l liv e neinterviews with retail experts. We have updated these to reflect changes ‘sell it to me’ ‘sell it ar by . ‘my • lo uis e dr ive s a co way’ to me’ mp an y ca r. world • sh e is a sa le s re p ‘i’m in your the journey to this ‘from meover the past four years and to make them more consumer-focused. We to you’ hands’ fo r a la rg e uk sp or ts re ta ile r an d sp en ds a lo t ofhave also incorporated insights from interviews and workshops with senior kitche n surfa ces, he r tim e aw ay on bu sin The launch of self- clean ing es s. enabl ed by nanot ech, uses adver tising centr ed on • ima ge is ev er th ing the demis e of ‘Super Clean ’. in he r wo rl dbusiness leaders at Sainsbury’s and Unilever. 30% of pre-s chool childr en are gettin g childc are The first ‘high- speed ’ of wo rk an d sh e al wa ys lo ok s l o u is e ( 3 3 ) where their paren ts shippi ng line betwe en spons ored by the busine sses work. The carbo n emiss ions Agadi r and Plymo uth pr es en ta bl e. compe tes with air freig ht • lo uis e lo ok s fo rw Consu mer acces s to credi t is still grow ing; cap and trade schem e for some fresh food have an ‘eco’ range drops avera ge levels of The last major retail er to it, as susta inabil ity is now inhere nt in all its privat e- is exten ded to delive ry. ar d to re la xin g at perso nal debt go past label produ ct range s. busine ss supply chains . 2019 ho me on th e we ek en ds 2017 . • Sh e’s a ve ge ta ria n. the £ 50,00 0 mark.We have developed the scenarios based on UK consumption patterns, 2013 2015 2018 202 0 2016 The Sever n Barra ge 2014but with strong input from global trends which impact the complex supply ss Produ cts above a in the UK (to captu re Retail ers launch small busine speci fied embed ded Derby city centr e is tidal energ y) is advis ory servic es to stave carbo n and water range compl etely redev elope d off heavy regul ation from the compl eted. are volunt arily remo ved as a Local Marke t Villag e. Compe tition Comm ission .chains that deliver products and services to the market daily. Green peace launch es its ‘Care not Consu mptio n’ The Dow Jones Susta inabil ity Dow from the marke t via a new retail er/ manuf actur er code . To find out more and download the Consumer Index merg es with the main campa ign. Jones Index . In the UK the 5th carbo n are Futures toolkit go to: All of Europ e’s motor ways budge t is agree d, with nation al carbo n now in privat e hands , and road http://www.forumforthefuture.org/project/The scenarios and toolkit are therefore applicable and relevant to any charg ing is exten sive. reduc tion targe ts being stren gthen ed to pave the consumer-futures/overview page 33 way for a globa l deal.developed economy, such as that of Europe and the USA. (return to contents page) page 8
  9. 9. scenariosThe Consumer Futures scenarios present plausible future developments, on to supply many of our products. This is likely to disrupt retailers’exploring the challenges and opportunities the consumer goods industry ability to meet market demand.may face in 2020. • Rising costs of major resources. We expect the cost of key resourcesWe base all our scenarios on a set of certainties and uncertainties. This such as wheat, oil, water and energy to rise in many places as demandallows us to explore the way powerful trends may play out and interact to grows and supplies fail to keep pace. These resources are alreadyshape our future. highly volatile – the price of wheat, for example, doubled between June 2010 and January 2011.4aspects of the future we can be sure aboutWe can be confident that some trends will be a part of any future. For aspects of the future we are less sure aboutexample, there is consistent research indicating a significant growth in the Many of the differences across the four scenarios are the result ofglobal population. Three trends feature in every scenario. factors we are less sure of. For example, in 2020, will the majority of people be willing to make lifestyle and consumption choices that reduce• Demographic change. We expect there to be over half a billion extra environmental impacts, or will business and brands quietly deliver people living on our planet in the next 10 years, with global population sustainability to their consumers without asking for big lifestyle changes? projected to grow from 6.9 billion to reach 7.6 billion by 2020.3 Will we see a shift in values, with people concerned less with material goods and more with wellbeing and quality of life? Will consumers still• Accelerating impacts of climate change. There is a lag between have strong relationships with global brands, or will local brands and emissions of greenhouse gases and their impact on the climate, so communities be more important? The scenarios explore what different most of the change in climate that we will experience in 2020 will be worlds might look like across a range of possibilities. the result of emissions that have already happened. So, we can be sure that our climate will continue to change and cause real disruption, for • Where will the responsibility lie for driving sustainable example through a growing number of extreme weather events. This consumption? We know that over the life cycle of many products the may have limited impact on countries such as the UK and the USA but biggest environmental impacts are during the ‘consumer use phase’, it will have serious consequences for the global value chains we depend for example in heating the water to shower and wash clothes; this3 Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat 4 World Bank Food Price Watch report Feb 2011http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/unpp/p2k0data.asp http://www.worldbank.org/foodcrisis/food_price_watch_report_feb2011.html (return to contents page) page 9
  10. 10. accounts for 68% of the greenhouse gas footprint of Unilever’s portfolio In order to create our scenarios, we took the two least certain trends with of products. We also know that, in developed countries, consumer the greatest impact on the future of the consumer goods industry: awareness of organic and fair trade food, ethical clothing, car-sharing and so on is higher than it ever has been, and yet not, by any means, • Prosperous vs Less prosperous – by 2020 will our economy be mainstream. We cannot be certain whether mainstream consumers will flourishing or subdued? want to choose sustainable options for themselves, or whether they will want brands and companies to ‘do it for them’. One way or another, • Do-it-yourself vs Do-it-for-me – will consumers take the initiative to consumer behaviour needs to change, but we cannot suggest how, with satisfy their needs or expect brands to do this for them? any certainty. We used these to create a two-by-two matrix, which in turn enabled us• Society’s response to resource scarcity and climate change. This to create the scenarios exploring how these trends could play out, as will depend on many factors including the willingness of people and illustrated below. businesses to change their behaviour, the availability of technological solutions and the ability of global leaders to reach collective agreements on climate change targets.• Legislation. This is already a big driver of change in the retail sector but we cannot be sure which direction it will take over the next 10 years. Future global trade agreements, for example, will be highly influential. Another key question is how far standardisation around labelling and environmental and social regulation will go. (return to contents page) page 10
  11. 11. Prosperous ‘my way’ ‘sell it to me’ ‘My way’ is a high-tech world, with a prosperous and ‘Sell it to me’ is a personalised consumer world in a entrepreneurial economy dominated by community-based flourishing global economy which is dominated by brands. trade. Smart products promote patterns of consumption Innovative products provide personal health solutions, for that use less energy and water and generate less CO2. example clothes impregnated with vitamins, or shampoo Many fresh products come in smart packaging that keeps lather that changes colour to indicate mineral deficiencies. them refrigerated and changes colour when they pass the use-by date.do it yourself do it for me ‘From me to you’ is a world where communities, ‘I’m in your hands’ is a tightly regulated world in which collaboration and innovative business models facilitate consumers trust brands to provide what’s best for them low-carbon lifestyles. The economy is subdued and and for the environment. The economy is recovering from uncertain and consumers feel business is failing to deliver recession but growth is low and credit is tight. Consumers on the challenges faced by society. Peer-to-peer lending might be fitting their homes with entirely brand-sponsored exchanges are common, for example, where property bathrooms that provide them with personalised supplies of owners band together to loan money for mortgages. branded toiletries on demand. ‘from me to you’ ‘I’m in your hands’ LESS Prosperous (return to contents page) page 11
  12. 12. how sustainable are these futures?The Consumer Futures scenarios help us understand what mainstream • A better choice of choice, where the unsustainable product or servicesustainable consumption could look like. None of them portray a world is no longer available and consumers are choosing within a set ofwhere consumption is truly sustainable, but in each scenario social and sustainable options. The concept of consumer sovereignty – where weenvironmental pressures have made aspects of it commonplace. all have a free choice – is a fiction. By deciding what to stock, and what to make, retailers and manufacturers have already made choices onBut first, what do we mean by sustainable consumption? There are behalf of their consumers.umpteen definitions out there. We think sustainable consumption ischaracterised by, but not limited to, the following features: • Positive social impact, where what and how we buy promotes wellbeing in individuals, communities and supply chains. Right now, we• Smart growth, where economic growth is not delivered at the expense know that simply buying more and more ‘stuff’, doesn’t make us any of the environment, and where the overall environmental footprint of happier, and certainly doesn’t promote community cohesion. In fact, business has reduced. Smart growth is characterised by ‘decoupling’ analysis of the recent civil unrest in the UK, tells us that the pursuit of commercial success from environmental impact, often by delivering shiny ‘stuff’ can be an indication of communities in distress. So, smart more economic value per unit of resource used. consumption involves transactions for goods and services that have a positive social benefit, where novelty and implied personal status are far• Smart use, where impacts associated with product use and disposal less important than they are today. are minimal. It is characterised by closed loops, or even open loops, where someone’s waste is another’s raw material; take-back schemes, where used goods return to the manufacturer; product to service shifts; and different ownership models – consumers don’t need to possess something just to derive a benefit. (return to contents page) page 12
  13. 13. Happily, there are aspects of sustainable consumption in all four • In ‘From me to you’, communities are again strengthened by local foodConsumer Futures scenarios for the world of 2020: and energy production. In this world, resources are valued much more highly than today because they are scarce and expensive, and there• In ‘My way’, mainstream consumers are buying locally and is little or no waste. Goods exchanges are mainstream, encouraging strengthening local economies. Vertical farming is widespread, recycling and reuse of goods and resources, from fridges to grey water. producing more food per unit of land. This approach also has a positive social benefit, providing local employment to the homeless. And • Finally, in ‘I’m in your hands’, the product to service shift has sustainable living is high-tech and easy; products such as the personal mainstreamed. Retailers and brands lease a lifetime’s supply of key energy micro-manager help reduce energy consumption and build goods, and now provide heat, water and nutrition. Strict government personal relationships via on-line competitions. legislation and economies of scale mean that these leasing models are highly sustainable. The consumer again expects government• In ‘Sell it to me’, personal responsibility for sustainability is relatively and business to take the lead on sustainability, but awareness of low, but, driven by a global deal on climate change and resource sustainability issues is much higher than today, with a ‘waste not, want scarcity, brands and business have taken a lot of the hard work out not’ attitude prevailing. of being sustainable. Retailers have responded to external pressures and offer a ‘better choice of choice’, and smart products and services are commonplace – all designed to reduce in-use impacts.However, the desire for personalised products, if not delivered through highly sustainable manufacturing processes, means that this world isn’t on a guaranteed trajectory towards delivering mainstream sustainable consumption. (return to contents page) page 13
  14. 14. recommendationsSainsbury’s, Unilever and Forum for the Future have collaborated Companies should be ready to innovate, and to develop, trial andto develop and refine the scenarios and the process has provoked learn from experimenting with new, sustainable business models. Thediscussion and debate about the future of consumption, how consumption companies that do this today will be the ones profiting tomorrow.and sustainability can merge profitably, and the impact this will have onbusinesses throughout the consumer goods industry. Work with your value chain to find new solutions Manufacturers and retailers operate in a complex system, and theWe have analysed the scenarios to pull out key implications for businesses challenges of shifting to sustainable consumption are too great for anyand brands today and drawn up five key recommendations for actions organisation on its own. Consumer Futures itself is an example of howthey should start taking now to prepare for a rapidly changing economic, businesses are starting to collaborate, a global fast-moving consumerenvironmental and social climate. goods (FMCG) company joining up with a major national retailer to develop sustainable initiatives that will deliver mutual commercial benefit.Take innovative business models to marketIn all of our scenarios, brands and businesses have evolved and adapted In all of our future scenarios, value chains are under huge pressure to betheir new business models to address challenges such as resource more resource-efficient, security of supply of raw materials is an evenscarcity, changing consumer demands and building resilience into value bigger challenge than today, and, in two of the scenarios, long linearchains threatened by the accelerating impacts of climate change. Many supply chains which criss-cross the globe have been superseded byof the successful ones have shifted from selling products to selling shorter, more local supply chains. In these scenarios, the boundariesservices, giving consumers access to what they need, without the material between the producer and consumer have blurred, and we see moreownership. circular and sometimes simpler value chains.To succeed in all four of our scenarios, business models need to be much Companies should collaborate across their value chain, incentivisingmore flexible than today. In each scenario we see consumers interacting farmers, suppliers, designers, producers, retailers and others to workwith brands in very different ways: in ‘My way’ and ‘I’m in your hands’, with them to find innovative solutions to bringing goods and services tothe global brand generally rules, but in others tight regulatory frameworks market.or consumer pull have led to a more decentralised, local approach toconsumption. They also need to face up to challenging questions. In aworld where people buy directly from producers, for example, what will bethe role of retailers and bricks and mortar stores? (return to contents page) page 14
  15. 15. Strengthen local brands and local production transparency from brands. Businesses which open up their value chainsThere is no guarantee that global brands will continue to win the hearts for scrutiny now will earn the most trust from consumers.and minds of consumers. In two of our scenarios, communities have builtup resilient systems to source the products and services they need: in ‘My Use the power of marketing to accelerate sustainabilityway’ they buy collectively directly from producers to save money; in ‘From Don’t wait for consumers to demand more sustainable products andme to you’ they have a system of peer-to-peer exchange and trade. services. In all four scenarios, external social and environmental trends drive sustainable consumption into the mainstream, whether or notWhile some supply chains will always be global (such as for tea and consumers actively demand sustainable goods and services.cocoa), brands that embrace and boost local production and have alocal authentic story will resonate with consumers. Even in the absence Savvy brands will seize the opportunities that this brings today and makeof consumer demand for locally resonant brands, strengthening local money by accelerating the transition to a more sustainable world. Someproduction will also reduce the risk of supply chain disruption from brands are beginning to have conversations with consumers on theresource shortages and climate impacts. sustainability agenda, but that tends to focus on today’s issues: too many marketing teams use yesterday’s insight data to make decisions aboutBuild up long-term trust through transparency what tomorrow’s consumers will want.Consumers can find information on the origins of products and servicesmore easily than ever before thanks to social media and advances in In all of the scenarios, leading a sustainable lifestyle is much easier thaninformation and communication technology (ICT), and this trend is likely to today: for example, disposing of products at the end of their life is simple.continue. Businesses are unable to keep environmental or social skeletons Although consumer awareness of the issues varies, companies havein their closets in any of our scenarios. In three of them, consumer made sustainability easy by offering consumers additional benefits suchdemand for product knowledge and regulations that require openness and as efficiency, durability and improved nutrition. This duality of benefit istransparency have changed the business landscape significantly. In this critical for brands and businesses to start to get right today.world, ‘green’ and ‘ethical’ are no longer niche, and robust standards onenvironmental and social performance are mainstreamed into everyday Companies should use their marketing, communications and innovationproducts and services. skills to create consumer demand for sustainable and profitable products and services. Brands need to understand possible future consumer needsCompanies should prepare for a world where society demands absolute better and to positively influence the things that consumers buy and how they use and dispose of them. (return to contents page) page 15
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