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    Consumers keep companies accountable

    While consumers are aware that their behaviour can make changes, they still hold businesses accountable for a whole host of sustainability issues.

    Almost half (48%) of global consumers believe companies are responsible for increasing the amount of packaging that is recycled.

    Only a quarter (25%) believe responsibility lies with consumers and just a fifth (20%) with governments.

    This research comes from the new Mintel Sustainability Barometer.

    Additionally, 41% of global consumers believe that companies are responsible for reducing emissions from air transport, compared to 36% who believe it’s up to governments and 12% who think it’s the responsibility of consumers.

    “Given that the International Energy Agency (IEA) believes that over half of the cumulative emissions reductions required to reach zero are linked to consumer choices, one might hope consumers accept more responsibility; however, our research shows consumers say companies are most responsible,” says Senior Trends Consultant at Mintel Consulting, Richard Cope.

    “There are several possible reasons why consumers put the onus on companies. More effective activism, for example promotes the belief that companies are to blame – whilst the sheer scale of the problem demands a response that feels beyond the capabilities of mere consumers.”

    Closing the sustainability gap

    Mr Cope continues, “Educating consumers about sustainability should help increase their engagement as there seems to be a sustainability gap – a striking difference between consumers’ experience with the cause of climate change and the reality of where the responsibilities lie.”

    He suggests that companies take time asserting their credentials, “but also in explaining what they view as the real societal problems – as well as their main business challenges. Messaging and campaigns will be most impactful if brands coordinate with government efforts or embrace the zeitgeist for environmental awakening documentaries like Seaspiracy and Kiss the Ground”.

    The full report is available to download here.

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