“Big data” for online sustainable development analysis


A study by BBVA Research breaks down online environmental and social sustainability information using the magnifying glass of “big data”.

Sustainability coverage on social media has grown exponentially since 2016 and the call to action on sustainable development is spreading across the globe.

These are some of the conclusions of a study by BBVA Research and through: Big data, It analyzes the trends that society is searching on the Internet regarding environmental and social sustainability.

To do this, use information from social networks, internet searches and the media. The analysis highlights that the debate around sustainability is dominated by climate change, especially on Twitter, but biodiversity conservation is gaining momentum and is starting to emerge as the next major point in the sustainable development battle. Among the hashtags on tweets in English, #climatechange stands out, followed by #environment, #sustainability, # energy, # innovation or #sdgs (English acronym for Sustainable Development Goals, SDG).

Among the Google searches for sustainability, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals campaign is of great importance, while it has been noted that the agriculture, fashion and tourism sectors focus their strategy on sustainable development.

In climate change, the impact of carbon emissions and global warming is one of the issues of greatest concern and the conservation of biodiversity is placed as one of the main pillars.

Anxiety in Europe

Sustainability is an issue of particular importance in Europe. Other developed and emerging markets focus on issues such as climate change and biodiversity. Asian countries, the United States and Canada are concerned with issues related to climate change and Latin America with biodiversity.

Most of the Spanish-language content on Twitter revolves around topics related to the role of technology and innovation, with hashtags like #sustainability, #environment, #climate change, or #biodiversity.

Followed by the group that focuses on sustainable lifestyle and its impact on new consumption habits and new ways of urban perception (transportation, mobility, cars, city bikes, fashion).

Demands for action on broad, well-defined areas fall as a subgroup within the larger community (#ods, #globalgoals, #onu, #rights). New trends in architecture are forming an autonomous community that is closely related to sustainable life, just like the media, and it is an important way to raise awareness of sustainability.

The SDGs, especially in the context of climate change, focus much of the discussion in Spanish about sustainability on Twitter. Terms like Covid, Agenda, Innovation, Circular Economy, Architecture, Climate Emergency are mentioned.

Sectors and companies

By sector, transportation, fashion and food are focusing their efforts on seeing them as sustainable industries. But finances and energy are the most important in conversations on Twitter. Among the companies most mentioned in tweets in Spanish are Iberdrola, Acciona, Endesa, or Repsol energa; BBVA, Bankia, CaixaBank, Banco Sabadell in Finance; KPMG and PwC in services; Cafiby, LinkedIn and Telefnica in technology; Eroski, Mercadona and Coca-Cola in food; El Corte Ingls and Ikea Espaa in supermarkets; o Ranfi and adif in transport.

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