Consumers show improvements on sustainable behaviour

Although more people now expect global warming will negatively affect them during their lifetime than in 2012, environmental-friendly behaviour has shown an improvement among people in nine countries, including India, a new global analysis suggests.

IANS| Updated: Sep 27, 2014, 12:31 PM IST

Washington: Although more people now expect global warming will negatively affect them during their lifetime than in 2012, environmental-friendly behaviour has shown an improvement among people in nine countries, including India, a new global analysis suggests.

According to the survey that included 18,000 people in 18 countries, a comprehensive measure of consumer behaviour related to housing, transportation, food and consumer goods shows that sustainable consumer behaviour is improving, albeit slowly.

Top-scoring consumers of the National Geographic's "Greendex 2014" survey are in the developing economies of India and China, followed by consumers in South Korea, Brazil and Argentina.

Indian and Chinese consumers also scored highest in 2012.

"Sixty-one percent of consumers globally now say they are very concerned about environmental problems compared with 56 percent in 2012," the survey revealed.

However, sustainable behaviour has decreased since 2012 among consumers in five countries - Canada, China, Germany, Japan and the United States.

The US remains last in the global consumer sustainability ranking, the analysis noted.

"National Geographic developed the Greendex as an important tool for measuring sustainable behaviour and changes in behaviour around the world over time," explained Terry Garcia, chief science and exploration officer at the National Geographic Society.

The 2014 Greendex provides increased insight into what the drivers are for consumers to engage in more environmentally friendly behaviour, such as peer influence and helping people see the connections between humans and the environment.

"This year, we have seen that although change is coming slowly, consumers are showing positive change in their attitudes about sustainable food choices; this data can help inform behavior change in other sectors," Garcia explained.

More and more consumers are embracing local and organic foods and lightening their environmental footprint in the food category.

"Nearly all consumers believe that we need to change the way we produce and consume food in order to feed a growing population, and many say it is very important to know how and where their food is produced. Yet, relatively few people report that they do," the survey added.

Furthermore, 65 percent of consumers overall believe that most scientists are convinced that human activity causes climate change.

The results were released in Boston at the "Sustainable Brands New Metrics 2014" summit recently.