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Applying global consumer trends to education – part 2

There are several trend reports coming out around the new year. One of the most anticipated trend reports is the one by Euromonitor International. It offers valuable insights into global consumer behaviour.


Annika Konttinen

lehtori, matkailuliiketoiminta
Senior Lecturer, tourism business
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Anu Seppänen

lehtori, markkinointi ja viestintä
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Published : 06.02.2024

As trend reports like Euromonitor offer many inspiring ideas about evolving consumer behaviour that are easily applied to the world of education, we decided to share our thoughts around four trends with you. In this article, we look into how education should address the climate concerns and media literacy needs of our students. The other two trends and our views on them as educators are in part 1 of this series.

Greenwashed Out: Address sustainability concerns

Consumers are Greenwashed Out, as no matter what they do as individuals, it is never enough to beat the doom and gloom associated with the climate crisis. According to Euromonitor (2023), most consumers continue to do positive environmental actions, but have increasingly started to demand that companies do their share and disclose openly what they are doing on the sustainability front. Consumers are fed up with false and empty sustainability claims.

In higher education, integrating these concerns involves incorporating sustainable practices into campus operations, teaching about responsibility, and encouraging research on sustainability and climate change solutions. Greenwashed Out students demand transparency and proof of eco pledges. Schools need to establish clear sustainability goals, communicate about progress regularly, and engage students in sustainability initiatives. After all, it is often the students who point out unsustainable practices on campus.

As consumers of education, students may soon start choosing their education based on its sustainability merits. Haaga-Helia has joined the Climate Commitment by Chambers of Commerce and aims to be carbon neutral by 2030. It is still challenging to find up-to-date information about how we are progressing towards that goal. Greenwashed Out students expect us to deliver on the promises.

For sustainability-minded students, the course offering looks delightful. Haaga-Helia curricula already offer a wealth of courses, minor packages and even degrees associated with sustainability issues and how to address them in the future careers of the students.

Progressively Polarised: Value critical thinking and diversity

According to Euromonitor (2023), the Progressively Polarised landscape is characterised by intensified debates stemming from global social and political movements. Businesses navigating this charged environment must approach hot-button topics carefully while staying true to their brand ethos. Consumers, driven by personal beliefs and ideologies, often align themselves with brands that share their values. The reactions of consumers to brands taking stances on divisive issues can be unpredictable.

The diplomatic dilemma is not faced by businesses only, but also educational institutions and it involves treading a fine line on political and social issues. The integration of the Progressively Polarised landscape calls for open dialogues and critical thinking around current social and political issues.

Without solid skills in media literacy, students may fall prey to social media campaigns that aim to influence their decisions and behaviour. It is vital to be able to critically and responsibly use, understand and engage with media. Here we have an enormous responsibility towards the future of our students.

Highlighting generic competences in education

Sustainability, political aspects and social issues all connect through making good choices, thinking about the future and understanding how things are linked. Upskilling media literacy, incorporating diverse perspectives into the curriculum and creating platforms for constructive discussions can help students navigate and understand the complexities of a polarised world.

The Euromonitor trends show how important it is for education to highlight generic competences such as teamwork and communication along with critical thinking – which will be in great demand also in the future.


Euromonitor International. 2023. Consumer Trends 2024.

Editing: Marianne Wegmüller

Picture: Shutterstock