FEATURE18 March 2019

Making a meaningful impact

x All content on Research Live and in Impact magazine is editorially independent from sponsorship or other commercial arrangements.
Find out more about advertising and sponsorship.

FMCG Features Impact Travel Trends

Research from J. Walter Thompson has explored global consumer attitudes to sustainability, highlighting an opportunity for businesses to play a greater role in encouraging sustainable consumption. By Katie McQuater


Sustainability is shifting. What were once viewed as niche behaviours and beliefs are becoming mainstream – the adoption of veganism and ‘flexitarian’ lifestyles, and growing unease about single-use plastics, are just two examples of heightened awareness of the damage human habits are doing to the planet.

These attitudes are far from universal, however – nor does a shift in awareness necessarily translate into meaningful impact. A recent survey of adults in the UK, US, Australia and China, by advertising agency J. Walter Thompson (JWT), has highlighted some paradoxical attitudes to sustainability and made some recommendations for brands.

While 92% of the survey respondents claim to be living more responsibly, the research showed gaps between attitude and behaviour. What people believe is good for the planet and what changes they are willing to accept can look very different. For instance:

  • 64% of respondents globally are in favour of car-free cities, but only 15% said they would definitely be willing to forego their vehicle to help the environment
  • 73% ...