Consumers have given up on their governments and have turned to companies in saving the planet, research from Fifth Dimension reveals.
According to the study, 71 per cent of consumers across Australia, the UK, and the US agree that the world needs to act on climate change. And when it comes to action, half of the respondents (54 per cent) believe that companies have a greater positive impact on climate change than governments.
“We know consumers are concerned about climate change. However, the argument has moved on from whether or not climate change is real to what is the world going to do about it,” explained Lyndall Spooner, founder and CEO at Fifth Dimension.
“What is viewed by many as the continued failure of governments to act on climate change now sees consumers putting their hope in the commercial sector where they believe there is a greater desire to act quickly.”
The study also revealed that only 31 per cent of Baby Boomers (Born: 1955 – 1964) put their faith in the government compared to 43 per cent of Gen Z (Born: 1997 – 2012).
According to Spooner, this result is alarming as this shows that the older the people get, the more their faith in the government decreases.
“Will people around the world continue to lose faith in governments to act on the greatest moral challenges of our time? Climate change will certainly be a litmus test for governments to put their citizens before their self-interests.”
Spooner added that consumers are using the power of their buying behaviours and decisions to force corporations to drive the large-scale change that they cannot achieve as individuals. In addition, companies that genuinely take positive steps to address climate change are rewarded,
In the study, more than half of consumers (60 per cent) believe that it would be better off if all companies were required to report their environmental impact. The challenge for companies is what standards should be put in place to ensure consistent sustainability reporting.
“Consumers want more transparency and informative messaging from brands around their sustainability practices,” Spooner emphasised.
One in two consumers (46 per cent) said that advertising and packaging are good sources of information on the company’s sustainability and environmental practices. The result is consistent in all countries and across all generations in the study.
However, only 33 per cent of respondents believe that advertising is generally truthful. Spooner said that the challenge for companies is effectively communicating the positive action they are taking.
“We are clearly moving to a world where sustainability will be a key decision factor for consumer brand choice and a point of competitive positioning,” Spooner concluded.
Fifth Dimension describes itself as a globally focused strategic research and consulting agency.