BfG News Issue 1 - Editors Column: Climate Change Takes Centre Stage

01 May 2007|Added Value

Since our ‘Branding for Good’ Summit last October, there has been an abundance of media coverage, mostly surrounding climate change. Consumers are becoming increasingly more aware. Climate change is being escalated up the political agenda. But, from our survey last October, we know that consumers feel that business, as much as government, dictate the rules and as such are equally accountable for climate change. In the UK, M&S is setting the course to do just this.

However, the UK Climate Change Bill issued in March fell short of creating conditions to encourage business to deliver carbon-reducing innovations. Instead most of the burden has been placed upon consumers to achieve the legally binding targets – a tall order when households only account for 25% of carbon emissions. 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 deliver the solutions that consumers really want. The risk of ignoring consumer demand is great with 85% of consumers claiming to be interested in ethical issues and over half of these willing to pay more for brands that behave ethically, demonstrating the rewards available to business. Vanity Fair launched its first carbon neutral magazine this month, dedicating the entire content to promoting global brands that are giving consumers an ethical choice.
In his last Budget as Chancellor, Gordon Brown outlined some positive incentives with new Green Taxes, like reduced VAT on energy saving products to make these more attractive. But ultimately imposing taxes on consumers isn’t the answer. The real mission is to help businesses to create tangibly different products and services to allow consumers to make better choices on the basis of environmental concerns.
By Liz Tinlin
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