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Just The Facts: Cultural and Generational Views on Sustainability in APAC

January 10, 2022 Kelly Kovack
January 10, 2022
Markus Spiske via Unsplash

McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific released insights on attitudes towards sustainability in the region. The Truth About Sustainability study surveyed over 12,000 respondents globally, and included APAC markets China, India, and Japan. The research revealed there are pronounced cultural and generational divides when it comes to what sustainability means and how important it is, providing opportunities to put humanity at the center of sustainability.

Richard McCabe, Chief Strategy Officer for APAC at McCann Worldgroup, said: "Sustainability is clearly of great importance to all, and whilst it's a complex issue, putting humanity at the center of it, allows us to understand the nuances at play and approach it holistically. There is an opportunity for every type of company to find their role in what they can sustain and indeed an expectation for them to get behind the cause, and take action to be part of creating meaningful solutions."

  • 80% of people surveyed in China said they are worried about climate change (the highest percentage globally).
  • 40% of people in Japan describe “protecting future generations” as their best understanding of the word sustainability (the highest figure reported globally).
  • The number-one answer in India at 26% described sustainability as a way of life (collective actions).
  • 62% of 18- to 24-year-olds globally say they are worried about climate change versus 68% of 55- to 64- year-olds.
  • Globally, more older people felt that companies should be required by law to protect and conserve nature compared to younger people (73% of 55- to 64-year-olds, and 69% of 45- to 54-year-olds vs 67% of younger people aged 18-24).
  • 38% of 18- to 24-year-olds say they've “bought a product solely because the brand took a stand on an issue I care about,” with that figure increasing significantly for older people (43% of those aged between 45-54).
  • 30% of parents/grandparents globally describe “protecting future generations” as their best understanding of sustainability, versus non-parents at just 21% globally.
  • 34% of parents globally “constantly worry” about climate change, compared with 30% for non-parents.
  • When asked “What do you perceive to be the number-one barrier to living a more sustainable life?”, 29% of respondents in Japan said too expensive is the number-one barrier. This is the highest figure globally vs the global average of 21%.
  • 41% of respondents in India stated that they sometimes buy the cheapest option even if they know it's bad for the environment. This is the highest figure globally vs the global average of 31%.
  • 28% of people in Japan stated that they sometimes buy the cheapest option even if they know it's bad for the environment. This is the lowest figure reported in APAC.
  • Globally, plastic and driving are the top-two things people report knowing are bad for the environment but they keep doing/using anyway.
  • 85% of respondents in China feel that companies should be required by law to protect and conserve nature. This is the highest figure globally vs the global average of 67%.
  • When responding “I have bought a product solely because the brand took a stand on an issue I care about,” India exceeded the global average at 45 % vs 40% globally.
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