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New Deloitte insight: Eco-consciousness in Asia Pacific on the rise urging accelerated adoption of sustainable products and system-level solutions

  • Deloitte surveys consumers biannually from across 23 geographies about their environmental awareness and belief that climate change is happening
  • 64% of Asia Pacific (APAC) respondents strongly believe climate change is an emergency; 52% said they had changed their activities or purchase behaviours to respond to climate concerns
  • A higher eco-consciousness is spreading in APAC across the society, personal spheres, and workforce expectations compared to the global average
  • Respondents in APAC ready to make sustainable choices; government policy and infrastructure investments required to solve systemic and structural issues

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, 11 September 2023 – A new insight released by Deloitte highlights APAC eco-consciousness is growing and the consumers are ready and prepared to pay more (if needed) for sustainable products and system-level solutions in the Asia Pacific region to help repair climate damage and respond to the current climate crisis.

In Deloitte’s latest article “Emerging eco-consciousness in Asia-Pacific summons a future of sustainable growth, survey data using Deloitte's proprietary Global Sustainability Actions Index analyses factors that drive active engagement in sustainability across their consumer consumption choices, political and civic engagement and attitudes towards work. These indicators provide insights into the current state of eco-consciousness amongst the Asia Pacific population and identifies opportunities for accelerated progress.

Climate change is exacting a heavy cost on APAC and Deloitte’s survey data suggests people in the region are aware of those impacts and ready to further take action. Based on the data, one-third of APAC respondents have experienced extreme heat within the past year. That data also indicates that severe flooding has affected 130 in 1,000 people, while severe drought has affected 160 in 1,000 in the last six months1.

Climate change is a lived experience for people in Asia Pacific

As the Asia-Pacific region continues to witness a series of climate-related disasters, underscoring the urgency of addressing environmental challenges, Deloitte’s analysis conducted by the Deloitte Economics Institute2, indicates the compounding effects of these worsening environmental events could create a drag on the region’s productivity, public spending and economic growth, amounting to as much as US$96 trillion in lost GDP by 20703.

“Businesses and governments play a crucial role in establishing the necessary norms, incentives, and penalties to facilitate this transformation. It is in the best interest of businesses to seize the momentum towards sustainability and provide people with products and services that align with their eco-conscious values. Achieving this change requires a collaborative effort involving companies, civil society, governments, and policymakers, approaching solutions from a holistic systems perspective,” said Nicola Weir, Deloitte Asia Pacific's Internal Climate and Sustainability Leader.

Eco-consciousness practices on the rise; opportunity to enable greener choices

Governments in the Asia-Pacific region have taken the lead in recognising climate change as an existential threat and have initiated time-bound, national-level legislation to achieve net-zero targets. Retailers and leaders in the consumer market are also establishing new benchmarks for transparency and sustainability across their value chains; suppliers are being encouraged to disclose carbon emissions, material choices, and internal ESG practices, which are integrated into sustainability reports, product labelling and brand communications.

Consumers across APAC are showing higher levels of motivation, willingness, and eco-consciousness which can be harnessed by governments and the private sector to provide people with goods and services that enable them to put their eco values into practice.

People across the region seem ready to make sustainable choices; among the surveyed respondents from APAC, 52% have changed their purchasing behaviours to respond to climate concerns and 49% express support for new regulations aimed at climate protection4.

In concert with growing public support for action, normalising affordable green products, competitively priced low-emission sources of energy, convenient ways to recycle waste, and low-carbon transportation options will reduce structural barriers to enable greener choices. While individuals in the region exhibit strong support for sustainability practices in their personal lives, the region lags global averages when it comes to being the drivers of large-scale solutions in the region through financial markets and reducing structural barriers to enable greener choices.

The article puts forth the following recommendations:

The private sector in Asia-Pacific has the opportunity to be market-leading by:

  • Providing greener choices in products and services at a reasonable price point that doesn't force a trade-off between saving money and saving the planet
  • Catalysing investments in climate change technologies, including funding for pilots/innovation labs that promote positive climate/environmental outcomes being demanded by consumers (through product stewardship schemes)

Governments in Asia-Pacific have the opportunity to do more by:

  • Catalysing policy and regulatory responses to close the gap between sustainability intentions/declarations and actions being demanded by consumers, workforce, and societies
  • Developing sustainable finance and carbon markets to underpin and drive the transitions

Recognising the pressing need to transition to a lower carbon economy, both policymakers and businesses widely acknowledge it as a strategic challenge. However, by taking these actions, the potential benefits could be transformative, with Deloitte economists estimating a net economic growth of US$47 trillion by 20705.

1 Source: Deloitte’s Global State of the Consumer Tracker, March 2023.
2 Deloitte Economics Institute | Deloitte Global
3 Pradeep Philip, Will Symons, and Claire Ibrahim, “Asia’s Turning Point: How climate action can drive our economic future,” Deloitte, August 2021.
4 Source: Deloitte’s Global State of the Consumer Tracker, March 2023
5 Philip, Symons and Ibrahim, Asia’s Turning Point: How climate action can drive our economic future,” Deloitte, August 2021.

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