As environmental awareness spreads, shoppers are making different choices.
There are times when writing about the environmental impact of meat production and plastic packaging (among other things) feels a lot like whistling in the wind. There appears to be little public interest or response, and yet we writers keep going because we believe these are important and time-sensitive topics.
Once in a while, though, hopeful signs emerge that people are listening, and these little breakthroughs make the struggle worth it. Today, data analytics firm Kantar published a report called Who Cares, Who Does? that shows one-third of people surveyed in 24 countries are worried about the environment, and half of those (16 percent) are taking active steps to reduce their personal impact.While I couldn't find a copy of the report myself, Reuters did a write-up on a webinar that was hosted yesterday morning by Kantar, introducing participants to the issues and findings. From Reuters' writeup:
"We’re already seeing small reductions in spending on meat, bottled drinks and categories such as beauty wipes. As markets get wealthier, the focus on issues of environmentalism and plastics increases. In the future, we could expect to see the share of ‘eco active’ shoppers rising in countries that experience growing gross domestic product."
The survey of 65,000 people found that Chileans are the most environmentally-conscious people in the world, with 37 percent of those surveyed trying to make changes in their lives. Chile stands apart from other Latin American countries, which, together with Asian countries, show little to no interest in environmental issues. Western Europe has the highest level of consumer engagement.
"Austria and Germany have the next most concerned shoppers, with Britain not far behind, Kantar said, predicting that sales of fresh meat in Britain could drop by up to 4% in the next two years if environmentalism keeps spreading." (via Reuters)
With the meteoric rise in plant-based meat alternatives, like the Beyond and Impossible Burgers, and a growing emphasis on flexitarian / reducetarian-style eating, this isn't so hard to believe. People clearly want climate-friendly food options.
They also want to see more companies taking action on plastic waste. It ranks as a top concern for one-third of survey participants, and half of those believe that manufacturers should take the lead on reducing use – a fair assessment.
Sixteen percent of 65,000 people may not seem like much when it comes to making a global difference, but it's far better than nothing, and adds a hopeful boost to work like mine. At least the message is getting through to someone, and it can only spread.