A recent study by global research and consultancy firm GlobeScan has found that people around the world want to lead sustainable and healthy lives, driven by their concerns about climate change and environmental issues. The research also revealed that the key barriers preventing individuals from healthy and sustainable daily choices were high cost and lack of support from businesses and governments, which points to the need for these actors to promote greater affordability and accessibility of eco-friendly product alternatives to consumers. It follows a growing body of research indicating raised awareness about our climate crisis around the world, and the fact that consumers are now increasingly willing to make people and planet friendly decisions.
Global research and consultancy firm GlobeScan recently released the findings for their Healthy & Sustainable Living study, which was launched in partnership with WWF International and various other corporate partners including IKEA, P&G and PepsiCo. The study surveyed over 25,000 participants across 25 countries, and revealed that many individuals are interested in leading healthy and sustainable lives due to environmental concerns. In particular, 54% of those surveyed said that healthy and sustainable living is a major priority in their lives, especially young consumers aged 18 to 24, of which 56% said they feel guilty about their impact on the environment.
Findings also revealed that consumers want to see more affordable and accessible eco-friendly products and services, demonstrating that high cost and lack of government and business support for sustainable and healthy options are key barriers to individual action.
According to the results, 49% of people say that cost is the main factor preventing them from living healthier and more sustainably while 47% reported that governments need to support these changes. 31% of respondents also cited businesses as key actors who need to join in to help consumers make people and planet friendly choices.
Underpinning these changes in consumer demand is a broad growth in awareness about the climate crisis across the world. In all 25 countries surveyed, researchers found that concerns about a whole host of environmental issues are increasing, especially plastic pollution, climate change, the depletion of natural resources, biodiversity loss and worsening air quality.
Young people in particular are feeling the most anxious when it comes to environmental concerns, with 71% of those aged 18 to 24 reporting that environmental pollution is “very serious” and 66% in this group agreeing that we are now in a climate emergency. These findings suggest that consumers, especially the younger generation, are increasingly looking for brands that are dedicated to making a positive impact.
The findings from GlobeScan’s study adds to the growing body of research indicating heightened consciousness about our climate crisis, and the fact that consumers are now increasingly willing to make sustainable healthy choices but are demanding support from businesses and governments. In November last year, a report by the Mahindra Group found that the majority of Indian consumers want to take planet-friendly action but perceive eco-friendly alternatives as too expensive, with 89% of consumers willing to address climate change if companies offered effective and affordable solutions. Another study conducted by the University of Chicago found that in Japan, individuals only chose to commit to energy-conserving behaviour if it was cheaper, demonstrating that the incentive stems from price rather than moral persuasion.
In the face of our worsening ecological crisis, which is going to hit Asia-Pacific the hardest, our system that currently provides consumers cost-inefficient sustainable alternatives will not be enough. All these findings point to the need for governments and businesses to instigate change on a structural level to make eco-friendly and healthy alternatives affordable to the masses in order to drive much-needed large-scale climate action.
Lead image courtesy of Parkview Health.