According to Human8, the 2024 report takes a clear and provocative stance for positive change, driven by a global call for urgency.

New research reports that 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 that nine out of 10 people in South Africa are seriously worried about the future, confirming the pressure on people and the planet is at an all-time high.

We've witnessed insufficient infrastructures and high unemployment rates pushing people out of their homes, says Human8. 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. According to the agency, 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 reimagining everything, including how businesses are run to reshape human norms and ecological systems. 

"As a certified B-Corporation, the movement for regeneration is part of Space Doctors DNA," says Gareth Lewis, director at Space Doctors. "With this in mind, we started our 2024 What Matters journey by developing a cultural framework of positive transformation, a model that 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," adds Lewis.

The four-part global study showcases a unique mix of cultural and human insight methodologies, culminating 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 responsibility to help safeguard the future of our planet, says Human8.

"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," says Anneri Venter, business director South Africa at Human8. 

"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. 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," Venter adds. 

According to the report, key South African findings include the following:
  • The time for action is now: 90% are worried about the state of our planet for future generations, 82% say that drastic changes are needed to our lifestyle.
  • Consumers look to brands for inspiration and vision to move them towards positive change: 85% believe 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% state 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. 

The full 2024 What Matters report can be accessed here

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