Opinion

What is the role for brands in ‘The Great Reset’?

29 January, 2021 Share socially

Last week, world leaders – across government, technology, business and academia – gathered virtually to take part in the 2021 Davos Agenda. Hosted by the World Economic Forum (WEF), this year’s event also marked the launch of The Great Reset.

The initiative from the WEF acknowledges a fundamental change in the “traditional context for decision-making”, accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis. The ambition of the Forum is impressive – no less than creating a “new social contract that honours the dignity of every human being”.

At the heart of this idea is the notion that swift, joint action will allow us to push the reset button decisively and with measurably more positive outcomes than if leaders and businesses acted in silos. To this end, the virtual summit has seen discussion centre around three core ideas; the need to steer the market towards fairer outcomes; the need to advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability; and the need to leverage the fruits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good, address health and social issues.

The role of corporations in this endeavour cannot be understated, and we’ve seen many household names make bold commitments to driving a tangible ‘reset’ of the world as we know it. Most notably, 60 global brands including Nestlé, Mastercard and Unilever publicly committed to publishing information on ESG markers such as greenhouse gas emissions, diversity and inclusion and taxes paid.

If the 2021 Davos Agenda underlines anything, it’s the ever-present thread between planet, people and prosperity – one cannot function well whilst another falters.

However, it is not just big brands which can make a difference, nor should we wait for them to make a change. In the last 12 months we’ve seen impressive global initiatives emerge from local communities, and international online communities champion local issues as if they were their own.

For brands, big and small, realising a great reset will mean being in constant dialogue with consumer needs and the ambition to embed ESG issues into the fabric of who you are and what you do. At the end of the day, brands are a set of values, embodied by a group of people. And it’s those people we must re-orient around in 2021.