The Climate Change Bill: Marketing needs to act

19 Mar 2007|Added Value

Rather than placing the burden upon consumers to combat carbon emissions, Added Value – an authority on the marketing response to climate change – argues that government needs to create conditions that encourage business to deliver carbon-reducing innovations.

Added Value makes its case in response to the Government’s draft Climate Change Bill, which sets out a series of legally binding targets to cut emission.

In its October 2006 Ethical Branding report, which surveyed British consumers, Added Value revealed that consumers expect business to assume much of the responsibility for climate change.

“Consumers feel that it is big businesses as much as governments that dictate the rules. Therefore, they expect business to be accountable for climate change,” says Liz Tinlin, Director at Added Value.

“Both the government and the opposition seem unsure about how to engage business. Dealing with climate change should provide business with an opportunity for innovation. With the right type of initiatives and leadership, policy makers should be looking to drive innovation and reward industry, creating a business environment that would make us a world leader and exporter, and delivers the solutions that consumers really want.

“Placing the impetus on households, who only account for 25% of carbon emissions, misses the point. And, as our survey shows, this is more likely to antagonise and distance consumers from business because they expect business to be taking the initiative.”

Added Value’s survey revealed that 30% of consumers place businesses ahead of the government as being responsible for creating change.

In terms of focus, consumers put environmental issues including cutting pollution, reducing the use of non-renewable resources, cutting waste and implementing recycling and reducing carbon emission, at the top of the agenda for business to tackle. They rated these ahead of social issues, such as tackling poverty and worker rights.

Consumers felt that organisations should concentrate on ethically-led new product development and improving their packaging.

While organisations will need to invest in change, the survey shows that the risk of ignoring consumer demand is great with 85% of consumers claiming to be interested in ethical issues. Over half of these are willing to pay more for brands that behave ethically, demonstrating the rewards available to business.

Added Value also asked organisations to rate who they felt should lead and deliver ethical practices. The marketing department was rated highest, as it has the capability to drive and influence change across operational areas and deliver these against growing consumer demands.

Concludes Liz Tinlin: “Government policies and incentives such as Green Taxes will encourage businesses to make the changes, for example by increasing VAT on less environmentally sound products to make them more expensive. But ultimately the real mission is to help businesses to create tangibly different products and services that allow consumers to make different, and better, choices on the basis of environmental concerns.

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