'Face-Up to Climate Change', Consumers Tell Brands

12 May 2008

LONDON: 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 major global study published today (Monday) by Havas Media

Claimed to be the largest survey yet of consumer response to climate change, over 11,000 respondents were interviewed in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, UK and US. 

It highlights both local and global characteristics that develop current theories on a range of widely-debated issues. But the message that comes across loud, clear and unequivocal is that consumers place the onus for action firmly on brands.

Among the study's key findings  ...

  • Consumers are calling on brands to lead the charge in finding solutions for climate change.
  • Although climate change is a major global issue, significant divisions emerge in popular attitudes at local levels.
  • 79% of consumers would rather buy from companies doing their best to reduce their impact on the environment – a characteristic most marked in China and Brazil, but least in the UK and US.
  • 74% of consumers feel they can actively contribute to solving climate change – this figure is higher in developing countries, but lower in developed countries.
  • Only 11% of respondents 'strongly feel' their respective government is doing enough to tackle climate change.
  • Consumers will pay a premium. Seventy-nine per cent of consumers said they would rather buy from companies doing their best to reduce their impact on the environment.
  •  Further, 89% are likely to buy more green goods in the next twelve months and 35% are willing to pay a premium for those goods.
  • When it comes to actually buying green, 80% of respondents said they would 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.

In two-thirds of the markets researched (UK, US, Mexico, Brazil, Germany and France) people felt more strongly that companies and their brands should be finding solutions compared to the government. 

The research paints a picture of a world that has given up on its elected leaders' abilities to combat the problem, with only 11% of all respondents 'agreeing strongly' that their governments are doing enough to arrest climate change. 

According to Havas, this leadership vacuum presents a clear opportunity for companies and their brands to step in and take a wider role in addressing climate change.

All markets express a clear desire to see more ecologically responsible brands and believe multinationals can, and should, make a positive impact on the issue.

The study will become the core of a group-wide forum via which Havas Media aims to help its clients and employees develop a deeper understanding of the inevitable impact of the climate change movement on consumer purchasing habits.

A copy of the full report can be obtained via email request to  climate.changemedia@havasmedia.com.

Data sourced from Havas Media; additional content by WARC staff