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Marketers and Climate Change: Understanding Consumer Attitudes

Climate change is a major problem which marketers can help to tackle. In October 2020, the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reported that 2023 is “virtually certain” to be the warmest year in 125,000 years. This rising heat is causing more frequent extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, blizzards and droughts. It is also making popular regions uninhabitable for periods of time due to a lack of fresh water and intense heat. The public’s understanding of climate change has grown in recent years, with 70% of consumers claiming that sustainability is more important to them than it was two years ago, according to a study by NIQ, Nielsen’s consumer research unit. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on attitudes, with people able to witness the visible effects of reduced commuting. Unfortunately, climate change denial has also been on the rise during this period, with the oil industry and its lobbying organisation, the American Petroleum Institute, spending millions of dollars to fight attempts to reduce CO2 emissions. A survey conducted by NIQ found that 26% of global consumers fell into the “skeptic” category, and that the figure was even higher in the US at 34%. When it comes to those who accept climate change, there are four primary consumer groups. The first are ‘evangelists’, who are highly passionate and educated on the issue but are financially secure and spend cautiously. The second are ‘healthy me & planet’ people, who focus on how environmental issues can affect their own health and are likely to pay a premium for sustainable products. The third are ‘minimalists’, who have good awareness of sustainability but lack motivation to act, primarily due to cost. The last group are ‘idealists’, who are young and passionate about the issue but are unlikely to purchase sustainable products. Despite this divide, many brands and retailers are making positive steps towards sustainability, both internally and across their supply chains. Some of these organisations are opting for ‘green hushing’, which means not talking about their sustainability efforts to avoid becoming a target. Overall, marketers need to remember that climate change is a serious issue and that consumers have varying attitudes towards it. By understanding the different consumer groups, marketers can tailor their communication to effectively engage with them and encourage sustainable behaviour.

Originally reported by Martech:
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