Consumers are increasingly 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 major global study launched by Havas Media, the global media network of Havas. Based on interviews with more than 11,000 respondents in India, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, the UK and the US, the Havas Media Study unearthed both local and global characteristics that develop the 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 the consumers and provide guidance on how brands and companies could address this issue. The report highlights a dramatic gulf between the attitudes of the richest countries and those in the developing world.
Brazil, China and India are among those who claim to be most alarmed by climate change, while respondents in the US, the UK and Germany demonstrate far lower levels of concern. Likewise, consumers in China, Brazil, Mexico and India would be significantly more willing than their North American, British and German counterparts to spend extra on environmentally-friendly products. According to the study, 43 per cent of the Indian respondents were willing to pay premium for environment-friendly goods to save the environment.
Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media India, said, “The survey suggests that consumer awareness of the damage done by particular companies and sectors is growing increasingly sophisticated, and that companies that fail to act responsibly can no longer expect to hide behind generally positive perceptions of the sector in which they operate. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of who is credibly making changes and who is not, despite green stereotypes associated with different sectors. The result: green marketing strategies and good environmental practices are no longer a ‘nice to have’ for brands, but increasingly a ‘must have’ in terms of not only maintaining brand image, but also in maintaining market share.”
The survey revealed that 86 per cent of Indians would rather buy from companies that are trying to reduce their contribution to global warming. Further, 50 per cent 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. Interestingly, Indians believe the oil and fuel sector is the most damaging of all economic sectors in terms of the environment, while banking is perceived to be the least damaging. 57 per cent of Indian respondents also agree that their government is making a significant effort to combat climate change – the second highest proportion, behind only China
In addition, 90 per cent of Indians agree that climate change will affect them and their families, while 88 per cent 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. Further, 89 per cent of Indian respondents agree that tackling the issue of climate change means changing the way we live our lives.
50 per cent of Indian respondents can be classed as eco-absorbed. The eco-absorbed are those who are very focused on the issue of climate change and India has the third-highest proportion in the world – behind Brazil (58 per cent) and Mexico (56 per cent), but far ahead of countries such as Germany (15 per cent) and the UK (17 per cent). Only 12 per cent of Indians are eco-apathetic, compared to 34 per cent in the UK and US and 32 per cent in Germany. The eco-apathetic typically marginalise the issue of climate change, recognising the concept but sharing none of the responsibility.