Air Pollution Top Global Environmental Concern

September 1, 2011

nielsen-concern-levels-for-environmental-issues-aug11.gifConcern about climate change/global warming was less pronounced than that about issues such as air and water pollution, water shortages, packaging waste and use of pesticides, according to The Nielsen Company’s 2011 Global Online Environment & Sustainability Survey of more than 25,000 internet respondents in 51 countries. During Q2 2011, three out of four global consumers rated air pollution (77%) and water pollution (75%) as top concerns, compared to 71% and 69% in 2009, respectively.

Significant Growth in Concern about Pesticides, Packaging, Water

Another 69% rate climate change/global warming as a top concern, up slightly from 66% in 2009 but down slightly from 72% in 2007. Much more significant growth is seen in the percentages rating pesticides (73%, up 28% from 57% in 2009), packaging waste (73%, up 24% from 59% in 2009) and water shortages (73%, up 22% from 60% in 2009) as top concerns.

Top concerns among Asia-Pacific consumers include water shortages and air pollution, while water pollution was the main concern for other major global regions.

Less than Half of Americans Concerned about Climate Change

nielsen-concern-about-climate-change-us-china-india-aug11.gifClimate change/global warming concerns have fallen drastically in the US since 2007, while they have fluctuated in China and showed slow but steady growth in India. Less than half (48%) of Americans expressed concern about climate change in 2011, down 22% from 62% in 2007 and 6% from 51% in 2009.

Chinese concerns have shown a less predictable pattern. Sixty percent of Chinese expressed concern about climate change in 2007, which grew 28% to 77% in 2009 and then fell 17% to 64% in 2011. Compared to 2007, overall Chinese concern about climate change has grown almost 7%.

Meanwhile, concern in India increased 6%, from 80% to 85%, between 2007 and 2009, and then stayed almost flat in 2011, rising slightly to 86%.

1 in 5 Consumers Will Pay More for Eco-Friendly

While the majority of consumers around the world (83%) say that it is important that companies implement programs to improve the environment, only 22% say they will pay more for an eco-friendly product, according to other survey results. In addition, about three in four (76%) global consumers say raw materials influence their decisions on where to shop and what to buy.

About the Data: The Nielsen Global Online Environmental Survey was conducted between March 23 and April 12, 2011 and polled more than 25,000 consumers in 51 countries.

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