Climate Change Effecting Brands, Reveals Havas Media Study

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 launched today by Havas Media, the global media network of Havas.

Based on interviews with more than 11,000 respondents in India, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, UK and US, the Havas Media study unearthed both local and global characteristics that develop the current theories on a number of widely-debated issues. The objective of the research was to understand the impact of ‘Climate Change’ on business seen through the eyes of the consumers and provide guidance on how can brands and companies address this issue.

In spite of the fact that the developed world is globally perceived to be the largest contributor to global warming, the report highlights a dramatic gulf between the attitudes of the richest countries and those in the developing world.

Brazil, China and India are among those who claim to be most alarmed by climate change, while respondents in the US, UK and Germany demonstrates far lower levels of concern. Likewise, consumers in China, Brazil, Mexico and India would be significantly more willing than their North American, British and German counterparts to spend extra on environmentally-friendly products.

The survey revealed that 86% of Indians would rather buy from companies that are trying to reduce their contribution to global warming. Further, 50% of Indian respondents would be more likely to buy environmentally-friendly goods in the next 12 months, if they were at the same price and standard as their usual brands. 43% would be willing to pay a little extra for those goods. Interestingly, Indians believe the oil and fuel sector is the most damaging of all economic sectors in terms of the environment, while banking is perceived to be the least damaging. 57% of Indian respondents also agree that their government is making a significant effort to combat climate change – the second highest proportion, behind only China

In addition, 90% of Indians agree that climate change will affect them and their family, and 88% believe they can contribute to solving the problem, making India one of the most positive countries in the report in terms of its willingness to change. Further, 89% of Indian respondents agree that tackling the issue of climate change means changing the way we live our lives. 50% of Indian respondents can be classed as eco-absorbed. The eco-absorbed are those who are very focused on the issue of climate change and India has the third-highest proportion in the world – behind Brazil (58%) and Mexico (56%) but far ahead of countries such as Germany (15%) and the UK (17%). Only 12% of Indians are eco-apathetic, compared to 34% in the UK and US and 32% in Germany. The eco-apathetic typically marginalize the issue of climate change, recognizing the concept but sharing none of the responsibility.

Says, Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media India, “The survey suggests consumer awareness of the damage done by particular companies and sectors is growing increasingly sophisticated, and that companies which fail to act responsibly can no longer expect to hide behind generally positive perceptions of the sector in which they operate. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of who is credibly making changes and who is not, despite green stereotypes associated with different sectors. The result: green marketing strategies and good environmental practices are no longer a “nice to have” for brands, but increasingly a “must have” in terms of not only maintaining brand image but also in maintaining market share.”

Globally, the findings revealed that 79% 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 12 months and 35% are willing to pay a premium for those goods. When it comes to actually buying green, 80% of our 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.

Havas Media is the global media network of Havas. Havas Media represents one of the world’s fastest growing media networks, its agencies have grown from 10 markets in 1999 to 101 markets in 2007.

Havas Media services its clients through a portfolio of specialist global networks and agencies. This group is organised to maximise local market dynamics whilst leveraging the extensive global insight and strategic support within Havas Media. The range of companies within Havas Media include: MPG (Havas Media’s global media network), Arena (Havas Media’s network for tailor-made communication services), Havas Digital (Havas Media’s global interactive network), Havas Sports (Havas Media’s global sports communication network) and Havas Entertainment (Havas Media’s branded entertainment network).

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