Consumers, Brands and Climate Change 2007 (UK)

United Kingdom version
Reading time: 8 minutes
10 September 2007

The research shows a gap between what consumers want and expect from brands on climate change and what they think they are doing about it.  Awareness of what companies are doing is low and most people (69% in the UK, 74% in the US) remain unable to identify any brands as taking a lead on climate change, without prompting.

The opportunity for companies to lead is clear: people want brands (rather than green specialists) to play a bigger role in tackling climate change.  More consumers now say that they are positively choosing brands for environmental reasons, than are rejecting them.  And many intend to make climate-friendly choices, from choosing an energy tariff to buying their everyday shopping.

It is clear that green behavior is no longer a niche activity. According to the research more than 80% of the mass market have made some effort, though the proportion who have let green issues influence what they buy is only half that. When they do, it is consumer-facing brands - not green specialists - that people are looking to for solutions.

Key UK Findings:

  • Consumers tend to admire companies that are tackling climate change: almost 60% of those interviewed.
  • Consumers want business brands to play a bigger role in tackling climate change than they do today.
  • The retail opportunity is positive: More people had chosen to select a brand for environmental reasons than to avoid one.
  • While consumers have done more in high-carbon products and services (eg driving and energy and heating supply), their interest extends as much to low-carbon products and services such as household shopping and food.
  • Companies are currently winning interest and admiration (from a distance) but not trust and loyalty (closeness).
  • Companies are recognised as leaders but not as involving consumers.
  • Marketing opportunity.  Only 28% rejected climate change or were unwilling to alter their behavior.  
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