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Where are the world's greenest people? Not where you might think
Bank's survey gives hope for a greater push to renewables
(A native of England, Matthew Diebel is a veteran journalist who has worked at NBC News, Time, USA Today and News Corp., among other organizations. Having spent his childhood next to one of the world's fastest bodies of water, he is particularly interested in tidal energy.)
Here’s some surprising — and heartening — news from a survey by the Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI), the bank’s internal think tank: That Gen Z and millennial consumers in China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies are more environmentally conscious, more likely to buy sustainable products and more distrustful of corporate sustainability claims than their counterparts in developed countries.
Why heartening? Because several of these nations, particularly China and India, are among the most polluting in the world. The survey of 10,000 under-40 consumers in 10 countries — five of them emerging (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) and five developed (France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the U.S.) — found the emerging nations taking the first five places in the overall rankings.
Eugène Klerk, Credit Suisse’s head of global ESG, put some of the results down to personal experience of climate change. “Consumers across emerging markets might have been more exposed to the impact of global warming than those living in developed markets, which might explain why they are more engaged with finding solutions,” he told Bloomberg.
The survey, which was conducted by Nielsen, found that 80% of young consumers intend to buy sustainable products as much as possible, while in China and India, more than 15% of respondents said that all their purchases are now for sustainably made goods. Meanwhile, 63% of Gen Z and millennials expect to own an electric or hybrid electric car, with more than half of respondents in China saying they already own such vehicles.
So why is this significant? Simply put, numbers. Already, Gen Z and millennials account for 54% of the global population and 48% of consumer spending, with the latter rising to 68% by 2040, according to the report. And with this boom comes a bigger political footprint, leading to greater urgency for environmentally friendly practices.
The world is depending on it.