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What matters to South Africa

Nine out of 10 people in South Africa are worried about the future.
What matters to South Africa

Today, Human8 (previously known as InSites Consulting), the new human-driven consultancy, together with Space Doctors, their strategic cultural and creative specialist team, release their annual What Matters trend report. The 2024 report takes a clear and provocative stance for positive change driven by a global call for urgency as new research reports 90% of people in South Africa are seriously worried about the future and feel brands need to take responsibility.

New global research by Human8 reports 9 out of 10 people in South Africa are seriously worried about the future, confirming the pressure on people and planet is at an all-time high. We’ve witnessed insufficient infrastructures and high unemployment rates pushing people out of their homes. The cost-of-living crisis continues to put pressure on budgets and the impact of climate change is becoming more and more visible.

With an additional 82% of South Africans agreeing we need to move beyond ‘sustaining’ and into ‘reversing’ the damage done, the global agency advocates the shift towards ‘regenerative sustainability’. Where traditional sustainability focuses primarily on maintaining the current state of the environment, regenerative sustainability or ‘regeneration’ broadens the scope. It's not only about the planet. And it’s not only about doing less harm. It’s about thinking in regenerative ways, restoring and re-imagining everything, from how businesses are run to reshaping human norms and ecological systems.

What matters to South Africa

“As a certified B-Corporation the movement for regeneration is part of Space Doctors DNA. With this in mind, we started our 2024 What Matters journey by developing a cultural framework of positive transformation, a model which revealed the four main dimensions of positive change that all brands should be aware of. These dimensions provide the context for a further eight cultural codes of transformation – meaningful and actionable paths to adopting a regenerative mindset and identifying powerful, systemic solutions.” says Gareth Lewis, director at Space Doctors.

The four-part global study showcases a unique mix of cultural and human insight methodologies, culminated in a global insight community across 10 markets and a quantification with 13.028 consumers across 17 markets. Not surprisingly, the global research has a clear message for brands as 91% of people in South Africa feel brands need to take a responsibility to help safeguard the future of our planet.

What matters to South Africa

“We need to fundamentally change how we do things if we want to safeguard the wellbeing of present and future generations. We see many people, organisations and brands wanting to make a positive change, but they often don’t know how or where to start. Our 2024 What Matters report not only reveals the frictions and needs of people in South Africa, but also outlines the actions brands can and must take to respond to what matters to people.” adds Anneri Venter, business director South Africa at Human8. “We, as an organisation, are also on a mission to do business in the best way possible, and we want to help our clients do the same.”

Some key South African findings include:

  • The time for action is now: 90% are worried about the state of our planet for future generations, 82% says that drastic changes are needed to our lifestyle.
  • Consumers look to brands for inspiration and vision to move them towards positive change: 85% believes making the world a better place isn’t something they can do on their own. It requires people/organisations/brands with a clear vision to take the lead and drive change.
  • Moving the needle on sustainability: Only 16% can confidently state they have a sustainable lifestyle. Education (50%), availability (47%) and quality (37%) of/on sustainable options would help consumers adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.
  • Brands need to be more transparent about sustainability efforts: 91% say brands need to provide more information about sustainability efforts, with 57% saying that brands that don’t communicate about sustainability aren’t sustainable.
  • Flip the script on diversity and inclusion: 49% states that fighting dominant norms and labels used in society is draining and ineffective. They believe it is better to just let go and create your own way of doing things.

For more information and access to the full 2024 What Matters report, visit

6 Dec 2023 10:55