Monday, February 04, 2008

Animal welfare more important than climate change

That's one of the quite surprising (well, at least to me) outcomes of a poll conducted by the Co-op of 100,000 members as reported in Money Observer.

Now I don't normally like surveys, but 100,000 completed questionnaires has got to represent a reasonable statistical sample, even if only of Co-op members and customers.

"Only 4% rate climate change as their top ethical priority, compared with 21% who think animal welfare is the most important issue and 14% who rate fair trade as their key concern."

"Shoppers' worries about the environment are focused on issues other than climate change. Twice as many are concerned about the amount of packaging on their food as think global warming is the most important issue."

So there you have it. Climate change is a minor issue amongst consumers. Packaging, animal welfare and ethical trading are far more important.

What does this tell us? Well, I reckon that this result is clearly an indication of just how consumers have switched off from the debate on climate change as a result of the constant tis/tisn't arguments, the obfuscation coming from our own gov (and its appointed quangos etc.), the general feeling that our gov sees it as a way of sanctioning various additional taxes and the generally media led opinion that there's nothing we can do about it anyway.

Now all that is simply going to make moving forward on tackling climate change even more difficult. We are going to need some very strong leadership. Anybody see any sign of that about at the moment?


Peter said...

As you say, not an insignificant statistical sample. Puts a load of others (I think I saw one in the BBC claming a 'global view' based on 1,000!).

And though it's the Observer on one hand, it's of Co-op members, which are at least more Fiesta Family than Prius Person. So actually I am even more inclined to pay attention.

Given the level of 'awareness' pumped out daily, these figures amaze me. It's like people are really kicking back on the MMCC cloud, at least in the form offered up, which surely should suggest to those who think they know what's best for us that maybe they don't have it very well figured out in comms terms at least.

Odd that the shoppers divorce packaging from CC, as the two are kinda of related. In a way it looks like a boost for, which is focussing more on tangible, home-based issues... along with rewards!

So I think I will continue to tune back on worrying/arguing about the major deabtes that seem to exercise the GreenVIPerati all the time, and focus on a lot more 'DOING' with and RE:tie.

And the odd blog.

As to your last question.... hahahahahahahahhahahahahaha!

Peter Shield said...

The survey is an interesting one, firstly as you say because of its demographic not being your usual ABC1. Equally looking at the original figures it is Fairtrade that comes first, 27%, followed by animal welfare, 25%, and climate change 22%, then a big drop to Food quality, diet and health at 12% and community retailing at 9%.

You could of course argue that the sample is controlled, being primarily exisiting Co-op users, and reflects the values that the Co-op itself has been promoting being the leading Fairtrade retailer in the UK, indeed the Co-op was set up on the principals that later became Fairtrade. Animal welfare has a long tradition in the UK, going back to the Victorian days and permeates all classes- and also of course reflected in strong media coverage of the RSPCA, anti-fur campaigns of the 80s and now Hugh's chicken campaigns. Climate change is a relatively newcomer to the scene, albeit in a media blizzard in 2007. To score 22% against such tradional stawards is in fact a major achievement in my opinion.
-another Peter

Peter said...

Welcome Peter!

Fair points all.

Bearing in mind the sheer amount devoted to 'CC'of late, perhaps this is again confirmation that it is a tad too vast to address or be bandied about too loosely as a single entity, and hence inhibits the ability to relate individual actions on a more local basis.

There is also the not so small matter of comparisons between what could be deemed 'awareness' issues which, in this case, I guess could translate into 'importance' in this survey... and actionable results.

I can see how engaging with Fairtrade and animal issues can give a more direct sense of connection and, hopefully, making a difference.

But when it comes to altering behaviours to improve the enviROI+ (and lets not forget that '+', as often a bunfight can stir up a load of debate but actually not help bery much) it is a tougher sell, with less defined measures and rewards, especially on an individual basis.