Environmentally conscious consumers down globally, India records 12% decline: WEF survey

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November 03, 2021 9:52 PM

The World Economic Forum-Ipsos Climate Change and Consumer Behaviour survey found that as consumers across the world have adapted behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new study by the World Economic Forum revealed on Wednesday that the number of environmentally conscious consumers in the world has fallen significantly, with India recording a 12 per cent decline in the number this year compared to 2020.

The World Economic Forum-Ipsos Climate Change and Consumer Behaviour survey, carried out across 29 countries between September and October this year, found that as consumers across the world have adapted behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have become less concerned by the environmental impact of their choices regarding the products and services they buy or use.

According to the survey, on an average, over half (56 per cent) of the 23,055 adults interviewed said they have modified their consumer behaviour out of concern about climate change over the past few years which is down from an average of 69 per cent in January 2020, when an identical question was asked in all but two of the same 29 countries.

“Even in countries where consumers are still relatively likely to report having adapted their behaviour to counteract climate change, the proportion of environmentally conscious consumers seems to have fallen significantly since the last survey. They include India (76 per cent, down by 12 per cent since 2020), Mexico (74 per cent, down by 12 per cent), Chile (73 per cent, down by 13 per cent) and China (72 per cent, down by 13 per cent),” the WEF-Ipsos survey said.

Countries experiencing the biggest decline since 2020 in their share of environmentally conscientious consumers include Malaysia (62 per cent, down by 23 per cent), Spain (53 per cent, down by 23 per cent), Poland (49 per cent, down by 23 per cent) and France (52 per cent, down by 21 per cent), it said.

“The countries where consumers are least likely to say they have modified their behaviour due to climate concerns include Japan where only 22 per cent of the sample had modified their behaviour, Russia has 40 per cent (down by 12 per cent), the United States has 41 per cent (down by 15 per cent) and the Netherlands with 41 per cent people (down by 16 per cent),” it said.

The survey found that globally, the individual actions most commonly taken to counteract climate change are recycling or composting (cited by an average of 46 per cent of the respondents), generally saving energy at home (43 per cent), avoiding throwing away food (41 per cent) and saving water at home (41 per cent). The lease was changing the size, fuel or energy type of your vehicle which was only 10 per cent.

It also said that women are generally more likely than men to report changing their behaviour because of climate concerns, especially in terms of avoiding throwing away food (46 per cent women vs 36 per cent men on average across all countries), saving water at home (46 per cent women vs 36 per cent men), buying fewer new things (36 per cent women vs 26 per cent men) and avoiding products that have a lot of packaging (33 per cent women vs 25 per cent men).

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