The largest opinion poll on climate change found two-thirds of people around the world believe we are in a "global emergency." Unfortunately, there is a disconnect between what people believe and what they do. As explored in this series of blogs, the intention-action gap creates an opportunity for brands and sustainability professionals to act.

Here are some insights from the UN Development Program (UNDP) poll of 1.2 million people in 50 countries, representing more than half of the world’s population. The survey was conducted between October and December.

Strikingly, the study found that in every country surveyed, most people are very concerned about climate change. The U.K. and Italy came in at the top with 81 percent, the U.S. and Russia in the middle with 65 percent. Only one country scored below 55 percent: Moldova, with 50 percent.

The two studies confirm that citizens around the world share a strong interest in addressing climate change. But at least in the U.S., there is a major disconnect between concern and action.

Looking at the U.S. data, UNDP found 65 percent of Americans saying they are very concerned about climate change, yet Brands for Good and Harris Poll found only 34 percent to 45 percent of most age groups regularly take action. Furthermore, Brands for Good and Harris Poll found gaps between respondents’ intentions and actions across all nine indicators.

This means that an average of 20 percent to 30 percent of Americans are concerned we’re in a climate crisis but not actively addressing climate change and sustainability concerns in their daily lives. This supports results from earlier survey work we’ve undertaken and covered in this blog series.

This gap gives rise to the opportunity for brands to step up and help their customers do better.

Here are three examples of how brands help close the action gap.

  1. Design low-carbon products and communicate clearly about what actions your brand is taking. 
  2. Help your customers use your products and services in the most energy-efficient, material-minimizing way as possible.
  3. Show your customers the carbon footprint of the product.

Read the full article about climate emergency by Diane Osgood at GreenBiz.