Kantar & Saïd Business School, Oxford University map the UK’s social and environmental conscience

25 November 2020

Kantar, the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company, and Saïd Business School, Oxford University, today announce a world’s first in mapping online conversation and forecasting UK consumer sustainability trends against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Across 2020, more than one billion online news, search and social posts have been analysed to provide a detailed insight into the sustainability concerns of British consumers.

Driven by our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, health and wellbeing has dominated online conversation in the UK. In the past six months, conversation around health has increased by 500%. As has been previously recognised, the pandemic and lockdowns have also driven a broader growth in sustainability issues, and conversations around pollution and equality have increased by more than 400% and 300% respectively.

Issue Radar, the new analytics tool jointly created by Kantar and Saïd Business School, is initially focused on 10 of the 16 SDGs, breaking these down into almost 900 sub-themes. It identifies that, in total, good health and wellbeing represents approx. 41% of the identifiable online conversation happening in the UK, followed by reducing inequalities which accounted for 18% of related social media so far this year. Responsible consumption and production (13%), climate action (11%) and gender equality (5%) were the next most discussed sustainability issues encapsulated by the SDGs.

Beyond measuring the breadth of conversation, Issue Radar also measures sentiment and how brands engage, and are perceived, in the sustainability conversation online. Where brands are mentioned in online content, hybrid and electric car brands are most prominent because of the positive sentiment around automotive innovation. Automotive brands represent more than one third (36%) of the top 100 brands identified as having a positive sustainability reputation. Energy and Utility firms account for 16% of the top 100 brands discussed in sustainability conversation, while tech and telecoms brands account for 13% of the top 100 brands discussed. Retailers follow closely behind accounting for 12% of the top 100 brands.

By analysing volume and sentiment of branded conversation, Issue Radar produces a ranking of the brands that are best regarded in the sustainability conversation online. The prevalence of conversation around hybrid and electric cars means automotive brands dominate the UK’s first ever Digital Sustainability Index.

UK Digital Sustainability Index

  1. Volvo
  2. Hyundai
  3. Volkswagen
  4. Ford
  5. Siemens
  6. Etsy
  7. BMW
  8. Toyota
  9. National Lottery
  10. Land Rover

Beyond the overall ranking, Kantar Issue Radar is also able to produce a ranking of which brands are best regarded for each UN SDG. In 2020, the top regarded brands by SDG are:

Digital Sustainability Index by UN SDG

Good Health & Wellbeing

Reduced Inequalities

Responsible Consumption & Production

Climate Action

Gender Equality

Whole Foods








Blue Planet II


Holland & Barrett





Affordable & Clean Energy

Sustainable Cities

Life on Land

Clean Water

Life Below Water




Scottish Water





Anglian Water

Blue Planet II






Alongside Issue Radar, Kantar and Saïd today also announce Hypertrends, a new approach to prediction. Hypertrends identifies interconnections across disparate data sets and enables us to identify and rationalise why trends are becoming central to consumer decision making. Unlike AI-based approaches to forecasting, Hypertrends utilises an understanding of the complex diffusion of content that underlies decisions and outcomes, even with little to no data history – normally key to AI approaches.  

Commenting on the development of this world’s-first toolkit, Marine Escande said: “Together with the team at Saïd Business School, led by Felipe Thomaz, Issue Radar and Hypertrends represent a breakthrough in using very large data sets to understand how trends emerge and evolve within a diverse network. It enables us to go beyond traditional volumetrics, utilising the full network to predict changes in consumer behaviour.”

Discussing the implications for consumer brands, Jonathan Hall, Managing Partner of Kantar’s Sustainable Transformation Practice, added: “If they aren’t already, the UN SDGs need to become core to the brand and innovation strategy of every company on the planet. In 2020 we have seen the rise of the Citizen Consumer. Increasingly, they are making choices based on sustainability-led criteria and the performance of brands against these criteria. Better addressing consumers’ sustainability concerns will support businesses’ own business growth goals and have a profound impact on achieving the UN’s SDGs; the most important challenges we face in our lifetime.

“Issue Radar, together with predictive Hypertrends, is designed to help brands understand their true position in the sustainability debate and how sustainability will reshape their market. Together they support companies in their digital transformation journey and allow us to create a holistic set of KPIs to monitor a brand’s performance against the sustainability issues they have prioritised.”