The spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) is having devastating effects on people’s lives, global politics and the global economy. The impact of this virus is unprecedented in this century, and has compelled governments to take extreme action, such as lockdowns and travel bans.
However, the shutdown, most notably in Europe and China, is surely beneficial for the environment. Lockdowns have certainly reduced the pollution that many of these countries add into the atmosphere. This reaction to such a serious issue has done more for the environment than years of campaigning.
The question is: will consumers change as a result of this truly awful crisis? Will they change their habits, fly less, work from home more, buy online (which will be bad for the high street)? Will they see this crisis as a worldwide opportunity to make changes to their habits?
With many UK residents historically buying fruit and vegetables grown in Europe (and beyond), the recent lockdowns will naturally compel consumers to buy seasonal products grown in the UK. This will have a positive effect on the environment. Local translates to less lorry miles, therefore a lower carbon footprint.
We will also most likely buy less in supermarkets and high street retail. Buying less also means less packaging. We will also buy online. One van many products, rather than one car popping into town.
However, there is a chance that all the respite on the environment will be undone, as the world makes up for lost time once Covid-19 goes away. Having been housebound for so long, will consumers fly more, go out more, buy more, consume more, just because they missed it?
Who knows what the near future holds in these uncertain times, but if consumers are able to take this current challenge, and make a change for the better, then maybe we should.