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How COVID-19 has changed our attitudes to environmental sustainability

The startling impact the pandemic has had on the global outlook on sustainability and environmental concerns

There is a common perception that being “environmentally friendly” is a luxury, and in difficult times, these concerns are pushed aside. However, numerous reports from around the world have shown us that in the wake of the pandemic people are more concerned about environmental challenges and changing their behaviour to act in a more sustainable manner. What is most striking is that this attitude is widespread, from personal consumer behaviour to the way individuals see potential employers and, in fact, the way companies are looking to operate.

 

So why has the Covid-19 pandemic had such a profound effect? And what impact will this have on businesses and brands?

 

A time to reflect

The near-global shutdown of business and travel during the early stages of lockdown resulted in a dramatic drop in greenhouse gases and air pollutants, with charts, graphs and visualisations presenting a view of the world without human activity for the first time.

 

Whilst it has been suggested this brief pause in human activity will ultimately have a negligible effect on the impact of climate change, it will have caused many to reflect upon both their individual and collective responsibility for the base level emissions we as a species create. In addition, if ever there was time for reflection, it was during the series of global lockdowns, with limited opportunities for travel, entertainment, purchasing and the default way of living lives.

 

“The crisis makes obvious both some of the ways in which our way of life is not sustainable, and the capacity we have to adapt quickly to a new environment with increased constraints.” This is a quote from one respondent from research in Amsterdam, which found that almost a quarter of those interviewed felt the coronavirus had increased their interest in sustainability.

 

A consumer trends survey by Deloitte found that 85% of consumers adopted at least one lifestyle change to be more sustainable during 2020, with a third considered “highly engaged” - up 17% on the previous year.

young woman shopping for fruits and vegetables in produce department of a grocery store supermarket

Sustainable consumerism

One of the easiest ways for individuals to express this change in attitude is through purchasing behaviour. A 2020 global survey by management consultancy Accenture found consumers have “dramatically evolved” their habits since the onset of the pandemic, with 60% making more environmentally friendly and sustainable purchases, and 9 out of 10 saying they will continue to do so.

 

With this shift in purchasing behaviour, sustainability is no longer an additional nicety, but a key element of any company’s strategy in order to be successful. And it is not just purchasing behaviour that has been affected, but people’s workplace aspirations. The IBM Institute for Business Value found that 71% of employees and job seekers they spoke to found environmentally sustainable companies as more attractive, with nearly half suggesting they would accept a lower salary to work for such businesses.

 

Therefore, whatever business, there is always the opportunity to do better when it comes to sustainability. This can mean sourcing more local goods, or a whole range of other ways such as less energy-intensive production methods, using renewable and recycled materials, removing toxic materials, and creating closed-loop economies.

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Featured: HÅG Tion 2160 in Tumbled/Black, with textile Cognac 33004 by Elmosoft

A new way of working

One area experiencing a major boom is office furniture. With an increasing number of workers now working remotely on a regular basis, they are likely to make their office furniture requirements more permanent, rather than using existing domestic furniture, which tended to be used during the uncertainty of the pandemic.

 

Seating in particular is in huge demand, which, in the UK for example, is 40% of the home office market. Designers of these products face the challenge to create more environmentally conscious products to meet the growing consumer demand, with the additional caveat of making them flexible enough to adapt to the new workspace environments such as permanent home office spaces.

 

Meeting this challenge head-on is the HÅG Tion. A chair made with 75% recycled and renewable materials, it is manufacturer Flokk’s most sustainable task chair to date, containing an impressive 94% post-consumer plastic on plastic seat and back shells, 97-98% recycled aluminium, and responsibly sourced wood on wooden models.

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The HÅG Tion 2140 in Moss Grey, with textile Cura 68261 by Gabriel

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HÅG Tion is flexible for a range of modern workspaces including kitchen tables.

As well as environmentally conscious materials, the chair has a range of sustainability features which are standard practice for Flokk. Designed for disassembly, the chair contains no glue, meaning parts are easily removed, replaced or recycled. It also comes with a 10-year warranty, testament to its durability. All these measures combined help to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of the chair, which Flokk believe makes the HÅG Tion the most carbon-efficient task chair on the market.

 

With the freedom to pick and choose from a range of materials in an even wider range of colours and finishes, the HÅG Tion can effortlessly adapt to any working environment, be it in the home of the office.

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HÅG Tion available in a wide range of colours and finishes, including a variety of different coloured recycled plastics and responsibly sourced wood - Click here to find out more

The first step

As society takes its first steps in a post-pandemic world, there is clearly a renewed sense of urgency when it comes to taking measures to combat climate change. It is hoped that the momentum gained can ensure that the forthcoming COP26 summit will set a strong agenda to challenge not only individuals, but every business sector to do better. This sentiment is only made more profound after a year of floods, forest fires and insect decline – pointing to the even greater biodiversity crisis looming in the not-too-distant future if things don’t change soon.

 

Whilst it isn’t the only answer, it is clear that people are willing to adopt more sustainable and environmentally conscious purchasing behaviours and lifestyle choices to do their bit, but it is also up to businesses to provide every opportunity for them to do so, by creating sustainable solutions.

 

HÅG Tion - a chair for anywhere

The HÅG Tion is now available worldwide.

 

Visit our website to find out more about the unique sustainable qualities of this dynamic flexible task chair,  and design your own choosing from a wide range of options to make a chair perfect for your home or workspace.

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