According to IBM’s report on ‘How the COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted views of consumers on Sustainability’, Urban Indian consumers are most willing to shift their buying behaviour to minimize their impact on the environment. The study further shows that consumers globally are willing to pay a premium and even take a pay cut for a sustainable future.
The IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed over 14,000 adults globally from nine countries—United States, India, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Brazil and China in March 2021 to better understand consumers’ views on environmental sustainability. Especially, in the aftermath of the pandemic. The study reported that 78 per cent of consumers in India are most willing to change their purchasing behaviour to reduce a negative impact on the environment. The percentage of respondents is the highest across all countries surveyed.
Half of the consumers surveyed globally agreed that climate change exposure of a company impacts investor's financial risk. At 70 per cent, Indian consumers have the highest levels of association of climate risk with financial risk. Across various parameters related to their lifestyle choices and shopping behaviour, those surveyed in India showed higher awareness and concern for sustainable choices.
In fact, 85 per cent Indian respondents consider environmentally sustainable companies as more attractive employers. Consumers in India (63 per cent) research on personal health and wellbeing benefits information of products before purchase. Over 90 per cent of Indian respondents believe that their personal travel habits contribute to climate change at least a little; this is also the highest across all countries surveyed, IBM said in a statement. Close to 95 per cent of Indian respondents are actively looking to use more environmentally friendly modes of transportation at least a little- also highest across all countries surveyed, the survey said. IBM’s research suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated consumers’ focus on sustainability and willingness to pay out of their own pockets for a sustainable future. In fact, nine in 10 consumers surveyed globally reported that COVID-19 pandemic affected their views on environmental sustainability and are willing to change how they shop, travel, choose an employer, and even where they make personal investments.
Meanwhile, companies are also stepping up their response to sustainable practices globally. This includes adopting greater use of renewables in their supply chain, reducing plastic waste, and investing in sustainable practices. “We see many companies beginning to make strides to build transparent supply chains or improve energy management to reduce carbon emissions with the help of innovative technologies like AI and Blockchain," said Dr Murray Simpson, global lead for sustainability, climate and transition, IBM Global Business Services.