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Brand response to climate change needed

News, 15 December 2015

MELBOURNE/SHANGHAI: As world leaders came to an agreement on climate change at the COP21 summit last week, the effectiveness of environmental concerns as a consumer motivator may be diverging between Western and Asian markets.

Australian adman Brendon Guthrie believes that a new direction is needed to bring consumers back to environmental messaging, and that consumers in Australia have been turned off by fear-driven climate change messages.

"As the bigger problems are concerned, like the future of life on the planet, I think the bigger you make the catastrophe the less likely people are to think they can do anything meaningful about it," said Guthrie in an interview with ABC, reported in B&T Magazine.

Comparatively, sustainability is becoming an important motivator for millennial consumers in the world's most populous developing countries, as they battle the effects of pollution on a daily basis.

According to recent research by MSLGroup, millennials in China and India, where millions of consumers are already battling the impact of poor air quality and more extreme seasons, expect brands to play their part in tackling climate change and promoting environmentalism.

The day to day reality is reflected in the motivations for change: Chinese millennials want to tackle the country's pollution issues in the big cities through meaningful action, and believe the government must take steps to set an example for change at an individual level.

Indian millennials believe climate change is already impacting their country, with severe monsoons and droughts drastically affecting industries. In contrast to China, young Indians believe combatting the impact of climate change begins with their individual choices.

Brands willing to pivot toward environmentally friendly products are set to benefit. "Chinese and Indian businesses should seize the opportunity, engage concerned millennials and involve them as active agents of change to make the difference that is desperately needed," Schubert Fernandes, Asia Practice Leader for Corporate & Brand Citizenship at MSLGROUP, told Digital Market Asia.

Data sourced from ABC Radio, B&T, Digital Market Asia; additional content by Warc staff