More consumers are serious about climate change. Are business and government listening?

As we enter 2022 in anticipation of a brand new spherical of negotiations post-COP26 and amidst mounting public alarm, it’s now as much as governments and enterprise to step up and act on their pledges if we’re to have the ability to change course away from catastrophic local weather change.

However what actions do shoppers must take to play their half? GlobeScan’s Healthy & Sustainable Living public opinion analysis suggests that folks don’t make many significant adjustments to their on a regular basis habits and are as a substitute on the lookout for governments and corporations to prepared the ground. Regardless of file concern about local weather change and nature, there can’t be habits change at scale with out large engagement by governments and enterprise.

The third annual Healthy & Sustainable Living examine surveyed a complete of greater than 30,000 folks in 31 markets about their attitudes, opinions, and behaviors in response to sustainability.

The analysis discovered that folks world wide care greater than ever concerning the local weather and nature, and there may be an rising sense of feeling personally impacted. Concern about local weather change and nature is rising, with 63 p.c globally throughout 17 monitoring international locations saying that local weather change is “very severe” — the most important proportion ever recorded by GlobeScan’s monitoring, which started in 1998. One other 64 p.c name depletion of pure sources and water air pollution “very severe.” Solely the COVID-19 pandemic is seen as being extra severe among the many points probed (66 p.c). On the identical time, 36 p.c declare they’ve been “vastly” personally affected by local weather change (up from 31 p.c in 2020 in 27 markets tracked), whereas 34 p.c say the identical about air air pollution.

Seriousness of climate change

In 2020, the Wholesome & Sustainable Residing examine recorded heightened environmental consciousness within the first 12 months of the pandemic, and evidently this shift has been locked in. Seventy-three p.c of shoppers globally agree that we have to cut back consumption to protect the setting for future generations, whereas 52 p.c say that they really feel responsible about their very own adverse impression, just like 2020 after a big enhance in comparison with 2019 (throughout 24 constant markets tracked).

Environmental attitudes

Shoppers additionally specific a powerful need to make adjustments to the best way they dwell, particularly members of Technology Z and folks within the creating world. Virtually half (46 p.c) say they wish to change their way of life “an incredible deal” to be extra environmentally pleasant. As many as 53 p.c of those that have gone by way of any of a spread of life adjustments up to now 12 months say they wish to change their way of life “an incredible deal” to be extra environmentally pleasant, in comparison with 39 p.c of those that haven’t skilled life-changing moments; for instance, 58 p.c of those that have had a child say they wish to change their way of life “an incredible deal” to be extra environmentally pleasant.

But there stays a big aspiration-action hole in the case of sustainable residing. Solely 22 p.c of shoppers say they’ve made main adjustments to be extra environmentally pleasant up to now 12 months, lower than half of the proportion expressing a powerful motivation to take action. A majority of shoppers (70 p.c) already say that they’re “doing every part they will” to guard the setting, just like 2020 after a big enhance in comparison with 2019 (throughout 24 markets tracked).

Desire to change vs. changes made to lifestyle

When a wide range of sustainable behaviors within the areas of buying, house vitality use, mobility, and meals, the analysis additionally finds that throughout 24 markets surveyed in 2019 and 2021, there have been solely marginal will increase in sustainable behaviors over the previous two years — regardless of outstanding will increase in environmental consciousness.

So, if folks care and are motivated to turn into extra sustainable, why is there no more habits change taking place? Of their responses to the survey, shoppers point out that they want extra help from a number of actors to facilitate wholesome and sustainable residing, wanting particularly to governments and corporations to create an enabling social infrastructure for habits change at scale. Virtually half of shoppers in 24 tracked markets (47 p.c) say an absence of presidency help is among the many biggest limitations stopping them from residing wholesome and sustainable lives, in step with 2019. One-third (34 p.c) declare an absence of help from enterprise can also be a key barrier, up from 32 p.c in 2019.

Barriers to improving lifestyle to be healthy and sustainable

Perceptions of how a lot governments and huge firms are doing to guard nature are extremely correlated with shopper propensity to take private motion, however each actors are seen as underperforming — suggesting elevated engagement by governments and enterprise will doubtless drive extra particular person habits change. Perceptions of particular consumer-facing industries (equivalent to shopper items, clothes/attire, expertise and meals) taking motion to guard the setting are additionally strongly linked to shopper habits change, signifying that consumer-facing manufacturers may also help drive adjustments in shoppers’ on a regular basis habits by rising their engagement.

The analysis additionally suggests that buyers imagine that firms are doing a comparatively good job of serving to them with sustainable habits by making their merchandise in an environmentally accountable and clear approach, and this in flip helps drive extra particular person shopper habits change.

Lastly, the examine highlights the significance of entry to wholesome and sustainable residing being democratized and mainstreamed, as outcomes present that lack of affordability and data additionally play key roles in stifling habits change at scale. Forty-six p.c of shoppers say {that a} lack of affordability is a barrier to residing extra sustainable life (down from 50 p.c in 2019), whereas 28 p.c say they aren’t certain find out how to do it (up from 27 p.c in 2019).

To allow shoppers to do their half in altering our trajectory towards a sustainable future within the coming decade, it’s crucial that governments and enterprise prepared the ground by taking transformative motion. The present tempo of change is solely not sufficient.

The third Wholesome & Sustainable Residing was carried out in partnership with Akatu Institute, CVS Well being, IKEA, Levi Strauss & Co., NYU Stern Middle for Sustainable Enterprise, PepsiCo, Reckitt, Visa and WWF.

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