Consumer Misconceptions about The Impact of Green Actions

Our latest global public opinion research suggests that people’s understanding of sustainability and the impact of their own behaviors on the environment are currently quite limited compared to what is needed to address social and environmental challenges.

Our data points to a significant gap between perceived impacts versus actual impacts: consumers view recycling as having the most positive impact on protecting the environment while actions that have much more impact – such as eating less meat or buying used items – tend to be seen as less impactful.

This gap between perceptions and reality suggests that consumers often lack sufficient knowledge, preventing them from changing their behaviors at the scale we need. Consumers remain constrained by factors beyond their control including knowledge gaps in addition to infrastructure constraints and financial barriers. There is an opportunity for brands to step in to educate consumers for greater impact while also working with governments and civil society to make the systemic changes needed.

Read more in our report: Consumers Will Not Save the World: Why Now Is the Time for a Reset.

Survey Question: Please rate how much of an impact you think each of the following activities have in protecting the natural environment (air, climate, nature, water, wildlife).

Data in the chart includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, UK, USA, and Vietnam.

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