Sustainability, which was once a niche consideration for brands and consumers, has gained prominence and risen dramatically up the agenda in recent years, following the increased public discussion and awareness of environmental issues.
On the occasion of World Earth Day, YouGov’s international study which polled more than 19,000 people across 17 countries, reveals that a majority (81%) of urban Indians said it’s “important” (46% “very” and 35% “fairly”) for brands or businesses to actively take steps to minimise their impact on the environment. A larger proportion of female respondents said this, indicating that women feel more strongly about this issue than men in the country (83% vs 79%). Similarly, the older adults aged 55+ are most likely among the different age groups to advocate this view.
Globally, along with India, respondents from other Asian markets such as Indonesia (90%) and Hong Kong (85%) also strongly support the notion of businesses/brands taking steps to reduce their environmental impact. On the other hand, western markets such as the US (69%), Sweden (77%), and Germany (76%) have the lowest proportion of respondents who say this.
Many global and Indian brands are taking steps to create a sustainable future and are actively communicating about it. When asked about brands using their marketing and advertising to talk about environmental issues and sustainability, close to half of the surveyed respondents in India (46%) said all brands should talk about environmental issues and sustainability while two in five (40%) believe only those brands who have done work to improve the environment should discuss these issues. Less than one in ten (7%) are opposed to the idea of brands talking about this topic.
Not only do consumers want brands to speak up but they are likely to support these endeavours as well with half (50%) saying they respond to advertisements that speak about global issues like the environment and sustainability. Engagement with such ads is comparable across age groups in India, except the young adults between 18-24 years who are less likely to engage with such ads.
Furthermore, data from YouGov’s Profiles, an audience segmentation tool, shows nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) agree with the statement, ‘I don’t mind spending more for products that are good for the environment’. Adults aged 30 years and above are more likely to say this than their younger counterparts. This is promising news for brands working in this direction as it indicates consumers’ inclination to play their part in helping preserve the environment and their willingness to purchase environment-friendly products for a premium.
Commenting on this, Deepa Bhatia, General Manager at YouGov, said, “Consumers have been made aware of the negative impact of their consumption on the environment and our recent global study shows this is prevalent in India too. In today's marketplace, consumers expect brands to take a proactive stance on environmental matters and take steps to reduce their harmful impacts on nature. A brand that wants to thrive in the future must live up to consumers' expectations by finding its sustainability goals and communicating them effectively.”
**Interviews were conducted online in October 2021 among 19,114 adults.
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