Supporting consumers in their carbon-neutral journey

People are changing the way they consume, as they grow more conscious of their carbon footprint and climate change, according to a Global Ipsos survey for the World Economic Forum.

The survey, conducted in late 2019, polled 20,000 people across 28 countries. 

Asia Pacific countries where consumers are most likely to report changes in their consumer behaviour to counteract climate change are Malaysia (85 percent), New Zealand (71 percent) and Australia (61 percent).

                                                                                                     Source: Global Ipsos survey for the World Economic Forum

Among the 20,000 people, 32 percent indicated that they are more likely to look for more sustainable and carbon-friendly food options, while 19 percent of them are reducing or modifying their fashion spend for less carbon-intensive choices.

In a 2020 VMware global survey on consumers’ online retail habits, it found that 43 percent of Southeast Asian respondents will pay a premium on goods and services that demonstrate commitment to being carbon neutral. 

The survey revealed that 63 percent of Southeast Asian respondents want to use more digital services to reduce their carbon footprint, by commuting less to shops, for instance. 

It polled 1,000 consumers per market from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

How banks and financial institutions can support consumers in offsetting carbon emissions

The encouraging statistics show that while the world is increasingly cognisant of the effects of climate change, more can be done to help consumers reduce the carbon footprint.

Brands which focus on sustainability and carbon-neutrality are also seen in a more favourable light -  the VMware survey found that more than half of Southeast Asia respondents (55 percent) will stop engaging with companies or buying from brands if they do not publicly share their ethical policies.

Brands can assist consumers in their carbon neutral goals, by partnering financial institutions on card rewards programs that track their carbon emissions based on their card spend, with additional options to tap on carbon offset projects.

The program, powered by an open source API platform that is easily integrated into the financial institution’s mobile app or website, gleans carbon emissions data. Consumers can view the calculated data on the platform, designed to be convenient and user-friendly.

Consumers could also buy carbon offsets that go towards carbon neutral projects, such as tree planting, wind farm construction, renewable energy development, or carbon capture projects, through the card rewards program which offer these as cardholder benefits. 

In addition, it could suggest tips for consumers to cut down energy use or modify their spending patterns to neutralise their carbon footprint.

Boosting brand equity through green solutions

Several brands have already implemented similar carbon offset programs through their partnerships with carbon offset providers.

For instance, American Airlines gives fliers the option to buy offsets through a partnership with Cool Effect, when they purchase their tickets or after the flight. Fliers are required to get an estimate of their air-travel emissions in a simple Google Flights search.

By empowering consumers to do their part to fight climate change, brands and financial institutions have the opportunity to stand out from their competitors, as well as strengthen their relationships with their eco-conscious customers.

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