|While consumers are more aware of green issues now than at any point in the past, there’s still been a big proportion who either dismiss the existence of or downplay the importance of climate change. But is the tide turning? A new study by ComRes for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has found that the proportion of Britons who accept climate change is happening and is largely caused by human activity has risen from 57% to 59% over the last year. So what is behind this growing acceptance of the issue? And could this open up new opportunities for businesses to promote a green agenda to a captive audience? Well, let’s look at the study’s findings in more detail…
Awareness of scientific consensus on climate change is growing
Numerous studies have indicated that the vast majority of climate scientists are agreed that human activity has brought about climate change. But how many people in the UK know there is such widespread agreement on the issue? More and more, it seems, as the ECIU/ComRes study showed that 61% of Britons believe most scientists hold this view, compared with just 53% last year.
More people aware of public support for renewable energy
Government figures indicate that more than three-quarters of the British public back renewable energy. But interestingly, the ECIU/ComRes study shows people are becoming more aware of public opinion on the subject. Just 5% of those polled last year were aware that support for renewables was so high, but this year the figure rose to 9%. While this isn’t a massive share of the public, it shows that awareness is moving in the right direction.
Media coverage of climate change is improving
The study concludes that the improvements in awareness and knowledge are partly down to better media coverage of key environmental issues. As Robin Lustig, former host of BBC Radio Four’s The World Tonight, says: “It’s obvious that the media have a crucial role to play in conveying accurate information to listeners, viewers and readers, and these small but significant rises in the number of people who are accurately informed suggest that journalists and editors may now be doing a better job.”
What businesses can do?
Help customers go green
New rules and regulations designed to cut the public’s carbon footprints often get criticised, with the government accused of adopting a “nanny state” approach. So making it easier for them to cope with these changes can generate lots of goodwill. For instance, with the introduction of a 5p carrier bag charge in England this month, now could be a great time to offer branded tote bags – as consumers will be incentivised to use them regularly and promote your brand logo at the same time!
Push green message to young adults
The opinion that Man is responsible for climate change is particularly strong among younger adults, with 73% of 18 to 24-year-olds holding this view, compared with just 48% of over-65s. Environmentally-themed marketing campaigns might therefore be most effective if they are aimed towards younger people, perhaps via channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Offer eco-friendly promotional merchandise
Many of the trinkets that brands give away or sell can be made from recycled materials. Mouse mats, for instance, can be made from old car tyres, while pens can be manufactured from discarded plastic. It shows you’re living by your green principles and helping your customers reduce their environmental impact, while still going about your day-to-day business, all at the same time.
The fact people are becoming more aware of green issues makes them receptive to environmental messages. There’s no better time to show your customers how your business is eco-friendly – and help customers promote environmental causes in real and tangible ways.
Further Reading / Sources
Public understanding grows on energy and climate change consensus, ECIU
Plastic bag charge set to benefit the environment, Gov.uk