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Which ‘big issues’ do your customers expect your business to take action on?

Catalyst, an innovative open-source research program powered by Glow, is on a mission to democratise access to data around the biggest social and environmental issues humanity faces.

We track over 30 issues each month, measuring consumer sentiment towards them and digging into behaviour and expectations about how to address them.  We recently asked consumers what issues they expect 30 different industries to take action on and how they rated the industry’s overall level of social responsibility. The results are surprising. 


Plastic and packaging waste demands widespread attention

Australians agree that the food and grocery, retail, and fast food industries must play a major role in reducing plastic and packaging waste, a clear signal to continue with the positive actions increasingly evident in those industries. 


 A green future for the auto industry

Despite the industry taking large strides in reducing air pollutants, this issue remains the highest priority area with 39% of all respondents indicating that they expect automotive businesses to address it. Climate change was the next biggest issue for the industry to address, seeing a 32% consensus. 

With many governments mandating electric vehicles in the near future, automotive manufacturers will likely have no choice but to address the greatest concerns from their consumers. The sourcing of materials by car manufacturers will also be scrutinised by consumers, with ethical sourcing of above average importance for the industry (+7%).


Affordability of housing the biggest issue for banks

With house prices skyrocketing in Australia, it is interesting to note that Australians expect banks to help address the issue of affordability of housing. This is the priority issue for the banking sector with 30% of all respondents indicating that they expect banks to help address it, while 29% agree that banks need to address the related issue of cost of living. Banks have experienced a resurgence in trust under COVID-19 conditions, so it will be interesting to monitor how they deal with these emerging consumer expectations. 


The foodie fix for the environment

When it comes to the fast food industry, 42% of Australian consumers expect fast food businesses to address plastic and packaging waste.

The hospitality industry (restaurants, bars, and cafes) sees similar results; 37% of consumers are concerned with the levels of packaging waste citing it as the top issue the industry should address. COVID-19 remains as the second highest priority for the industry, as they navigate the challenges of lockdown recovery and mandatory vaccinations. 

The pandemic may be the reason we see job security as the third biggest issue for the hospitality industry, with many of the industry’s employees impacted by business closures and lockdown recovery uncertainty.


The top and bottom industries

When asked to assess how socially and environmentally responsible industries are using Glow’s unique Social Responsibility Score, it became evident there are clear winners and losers in the minds and hearts of consumers. 

The food and grocery industry ‘leads the pack’ when it comes to social responsibility performance, with a positive score of 26. Gambling and sports betting brings up the rear a full 40 points behind with a score of -19.

Media networks & social media platforms are negatively perceived, undoubtedly reflecting the widespread consumer frustration with the spread of misinformation amongst other issues.   

See the report for more detail on industry level SRS ratings or find out how to understand what consumers think of your brand here.   


More industry issues

To learn more about what consumers expect of your industry and how they rated your Social Responsibility Score, download the full report covering 30 industries here.