The Green Consumer Feels Maxed Out – Time for a Reset

Recent data from GlobeScan’s Healthy & Sustainable Living research show an increasing sense of consumer disempowerment and a growing reliance on systemic actors like government and industry to take on the burden of addressing climate change and other environmental issues. Over the past five years, there has been an increase in the number of people who say that individuals cannot do much to save the environment, growing from one-quarter in 2019 to one-third in 2023.

At the same time, the large shift in environmental consciousness we detected as the pandemic hit in 2020 appears to be largely locked in. Most people continue to say they are already doing everything they can to protect the environment, suggesting that many people feel they have reached a limit in terms of their perceived ability to help make an impact. 

This indicates that in the coming years, businesses and governments will increasingly have to fill in this agency gap or find ways to mobilize further consumer action around sustainability. This is the focus of our new report published today: Consumers Will Not Save the World: Why Now Is the Time for a Reset.

Survey Question: Please indicate whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with each of the following statements. – I am doing all I personally can to protect the environment and nature – I believe individuals cannot do much to save the environment

For consistent tracking, this chart only includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK, and USA.

Source: GlobeScan Healthy & Sustainable Living Report (survey of 29,565 people in the general public in July ‒ August 2023)​