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Business News/ News / India/  Why media coverage of climate change matters
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Why media coverage of climate change matters

Media coverage of climate change can help increase sustainable consumption, suggests new study

Greater media coverage of climate change can help increase sustainable consumption, suggests a new study. Premium
Greater media coverage of climate change can help increase sustainable consumption, suggests a new study.

Almost on a daily basis, media outlets around the world highlight the growing threat of climate change. But does this coverage make readers more environmentally conscious? New research suggests it does.

In a study published in the Journal of Marketing Research, Yubo Chen and others reveal that media coverage of climate change in the US had a strong positive impact on the sales of hybrid vehicles, which generate less emissions than regular vehicles, and are far more sustainable for the environment.

To measure the impact of the media on sustainable consumption, the authors examined how hybrid vehicle sales in the US between 1999 and 2007 changed with mass media coverage of climate change.

They construct a measure of climate change by tracking news articles from 12 major media outlets. Using content and sentiment analysis tools, the authors examined the extent to which articles mentioned climate change and the tone in which they described the problem.

They find that articles which admit climate change is a problem are associated with an increase in hybrid vehicle sales. In contrast, media coverage denying climate change, or taking a neutral stand, does not affect hybrid vehicle sales. Interestingly, articles that project sustainable consumption as a social norm had a positive impact on hybrid vehicle sales.

The authors argue that greater media coverage of climate change helps reinforce sustainable consumption as a social norm.

This, in turn, increases the social status signalling value for consumers and leads to increased adoption of sustainable products such as hybrid vehicles. For firms selling sustainable products, the authors suggest that working with the media to raise awareness about environmental problems may be more effective than traditional marketing.

Also Read: Media Coverage of Climate Change and Sustainable Product Consumption: Evidence from Hybrid Vehicle Market

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Published: 23 Sep 2019, 11:48 AM IST
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