Consumer response to climate change puts onus on brands: study

Consumer response to climate change puts onus on brands: study

New Delhi: Consumers are calling on brands to take responsibility for reducing the impact of climate change as governments fail to make progress on the critical issue, according to a global study launched by Havas Media.

Based on interviews with more than 11,000 respondents in India, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, UK and US, the study unearthed both local and global characteristics that develop current theories on a number of widely-debated issues.

The objective of the research was to understand the impact of ‘Climate Change’ on business seen through the eyes of consumers and provide guidance on how brands and companies can address this issue. It brings to light the chasm between attitudes of the richest countries and those in the developing world.

Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media India says, “The survey suggests that consumer awareness of the damage done by some companies and sectors is growing increasingly sophisticated, and those which fail to act responsibly can no longer expect to hide behind generally positive perceptions of the sector in which they operate."

When it comes to actually buying green, 80% would be willing to buy more if more were on offer. The report concludes that companies should not make the mistake of confusing loyalty with a lack of consumer choice

Key Findings

*Globally, findings revealed that 79% consumers would rather buy from companies doing their best to reduce their impact on environment; 89% are likely to buy more green goods in the next 12 months; and 35% are willing to pay premium for those goods

* Brazil, China and India claim to be most alarmed by climate change, while respondents in US, UK and Germany demonstrate far lower levels of concern

* Consumers in China, Brazil, Mexico and India are more willing than their North American, British and German counterparts to spend extra on environment-friendly products

* 86% Indians would rather buy from companies that are trying to reduce their contribution to global warming. Another 50% of Indian respondents would be more likely to buy environmentally-friendly goods in the next 12 months, if they were at the same price and standard as their usual brands

* 43% are willing to pay a little extra for these goods. Indians believe the oil and fuel sector is the most damaging of all economic sectors in terms of the environment, while banking is the least damaging

* 57% agree their government is making significant effort to combat climate change – the second highest proportion, behind only China

* 90% agree that climate change will affect them and their family and 88% believe they can contribute to solving the problem, making India one of the most positive countries in the report in terms of its willingness to change

* 89% are of the view that tackling the issue of climate change means changing the way we live our lives, whereas 50% can be said to be eco-absorbed, those who are very focused on the issue of climate change and India has the third-highest proportion in the world after Brazil (58%) and Mexico (56%) but far ahead of countries such as Germany (15%) and the UK (17%)

* Only 12% are eco-apathetic, compared to 34% in UK and US and 32% in Germany, marginalizing the issue of climate change, recognizing the concept but sharing none of the responsibility