Actionable consumer insights: turning environmental concerns into competitive advantage

Richard Atkinson
2CV Research, United Kingdom

INTRODUCTION

“How did you go bankrupt? Bill asked.

“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly” Ernest Hemingway, The sun also Rises

“The transition to a low-carbon economy will bring challenges for competitiveness but also opportunities for growth.” Stern Review of Climate Change, November 2006

This paper's starting point is a simple question to readers: In five years' time do you think your or your clients' businesses will be more environmentally friendly, or not?

If the answer is “not”, you would seem to be dealing with a curious organisation. Described as “the most severe problem the world faces”, by the UK Chief Scientific Officer, as a priority for any company by Richard Branson and James Murdoch, and attracting huge increases in spending from organisations ranging from Ford to General Electric, it would take a special kind of company to ignore or dismiss climate change. In such instances a copy of George Monbiot's Heat and a good lawyer is probably your best bet.