Want young customers in China? Cut your emissions

Want young customers in China? Cut your emissions

Businesses have been urged to accelerate their environmental footprinting strategies to include emerging economies, after new research by the Carbon Trust revealed young people in China could hold the key to unlocking mass demand for greener products.

The survey of 2,800 young people across six countries carried out by TNS found 83 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds in China would be more loyal to a brand if they could see it was reducing its carbon footprint. In contrast, just 57 percent of U.S. respondents and 55 percent of young people in the U.K. made the same claim.

Globally, 78 percent of young people said they want their favorite brands to reduce their carbon footprint, but again those in Chinese showed the highest demand for emission reductions, with 88 percent calling on firms to cut their footprint.

South Africa came in second place with 86 percent of respondents calling on blue chips to reduce their impact, followed by Brazil at 84 percent. Again the U.S. and U.K. lagged far behind, with only two thirds of respondents demanding more action from big brands.

The analysis was launched just days before the Carbon Trust unveils the first four Asian companies to receive the Carbon Trust Standard, its independent label awarded to companies that reduce their organisational carbon footprints year-on-year.

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said the survey results were "startling" in that they revealed how Chinese consumers could lead the global demand for greener goods.

"Sixty percent of young adults questioned in China would stop buying a product if its manufacturer refused to commit to measuring and reducing its carbon footprint, compared to just 35 percent of those in the U.S.," he said. "Perhaps it is the Chinese, and not the U.S. consumer, that really holds the key to unlocking the mass demand for new low carbon products necessary to deliver an environmentally sustainable economy.

"If global brands don't build international carbon reduction strategies even faster, they risk missing out on the spending power of emerging economies."

The research also revealed that Brazilian young people showed the greatest demand for companies to be transparent about their action on carbon, with 81 percent demanding that brands to provide proof they are reducing their carbon footprints.

British young people showed a high awareness of the term "carbon footprint," but only half claimed to be concerned about climate change.

This article originally appeared on BusinessGreen.

Photo of Dongmen Pedestrian Street by testing / Shutterstock.com.