Pontus Nyström / Edward Blomstedt

After COP 26 – 63% of Asians don’t feel sustainability is their responsibility


A great question to put to western companies is what does sustainability mean to Asian consumers, and what should companies do?

Kantar, one of the worlds most renowned research companies is helping us to discover what matters to people in Asia, and where to play to help your company navigate the sustainability journey.

But on such a complex topic, where do you even start? What are the issues that Asian consumers care about?

Kantar’s Asia Sustainability Foundational Study 2021, covering nine markets in the region (Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Japan, and South Korea), provides the latest findings to help brands uncover what matters to Asians and therefore where to play to help your company navigate the sustainability journey.

Kantar has used UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a framework of 17 areas that captures the urgent call for action by all countries to understand what consumers care most about.

63% of Asians don’t feel sustainability is their responsibility and it is up to companies and organizations. Consumers want brands to embrace social and environmental purpose.

58% of Asian consumers are personally affected by environmental problems. Our study found that the majority of Asians feel they have been personally affected by environmental issues, and that they are most concerned about as the specific issues of Water Pollution, Air Pollution, and Extreme Weather Events.

Plastics appear to be less of a focus in Asia… although these are tied into bigger community issues Ocean and Micro Plastics, and the environmental impact of packaging, are a widely discussed area of sustainability change. But looking at Asia, this is ranked as the 11th most pressing concern, contrasting to the UK where this is at the top spot – a significant difference in focus.

However, a closer look at the data shows that Asians do care about the issue of Plastics, but it is tied into broader community issues around water pollution.

So, what does that tell us? Well, whilst improvements in packaging are important, approaching plastics on its own will not necessarily resonate with Asian consumers unless the issue is tied to tangible results such as a reduction in water pollution.

53% of Asians have stopped buying products and services that have a negative impact on the environment and society

So, it seems a bit contradictionary that while asians don´t think environment is their responsibility, they still take a lot of action to prevent negative consequnces on the environment.

But also, a sign that companies are not doing enough.

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