The anxiety of Indians about the deteriorating environment has moved from being a national issue to one of great personal concern, according to a new study from communications agency Lodestar Universal. In the India chapter of a global study conducted by Universal McCann that was completed this week, more than two thirds of people said that their environments negatively affected their appearances and health.
Lodestar Universal’s poll was fielded as part of the agency’s on-going analysis of trends and influences impacting people’s lives, bringing about behavioural changes and shifts in product purchasing decisions.
Speaking on the survey, Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar Universal, said, “Clearly, large sections of the population have a higher sense of urgency about the environment than many people realise. While the traditional media has been carrying quite high-profile coverage on the issues, we also have a very strong sense that the new digital media for communications are running hot with commentary and real worries on this subject, particularly among young people.”
He also informed that the survey results would be used for his clients, especially in the wellness and health area, and this will help clients like Amul, L’Oreal, J&J, and so on.
The distress that people feel personally about the environment revealed a new level of concern to Lodestar Universal’s researchers. The poll, which covered people of all age groups, revealed that 76 per cent of people strongly agreed that their environment was having a direct effect on their health, mostly causing allergies and breathing difficulties, while 69 per cent said it impacted their appearance, mostly relating to hair and skin.
Overall, environmental pollution (73 per cent) and global warming (68 per cent) are the two factors more concerning to Indians than the cost of living (57 per cent). In equal fourth place for concerns are government corruption and the threat of terrorist attacks (52 per cent).
Such strong feelings have galvanised Indians’ opinions on actions and responsibilities to do with the worsening environmental situation. Among those surveyed, 83 per cent said companies and businesses need to do more to preserve the environment. However, the real strength of opinion was directed towards government, where 79 per cent said stricter regulations with steep fines are needed to ensure people do more to protect the environment. National government bodies (81 per cent) need to act more strongly, and local government was also singled out (73 per cent).
The Lodestar Universal study also revealed changing aspects of peoples’ behaviour with environmental issues impacting their lives. People said they were more likely to buy brands that are seen to be environmentally friendly (44 per cent), but 38 per cent also said that most brands claiming to be ‘green’ were simply paying lip service to the issues. The poll also revealed that 46 per cent of people felt there was an economic benefit for companies to be more environmentally friendly.
At the personal level, the two top initiatives that people undertook relating to environmental care were actively reducing electricity usage (65 per cent) and recycling (62 per cent).
Overall, 66 per cent of people said they were making efforts to care for the environment, but only 11 per cent felt their initiatives were making an impact. Also, 16 per cent of people said they were concerned about the issue but believed it was too hard make an impact.