The Consumer Impact of Copenhagen

Shelton group logo Karen Barnes, Director of Insight at the Shelton Group, reviews how the recent events in Copenhagen and the international attention of climate change will impact the green consumer marketplace going forward. She suggest that it might be the consumer tipping point that finally turns the tide of public opinion towards climate solutions for those who follow the lead of government and other leaders.

Posted Dec. 16, 2009
By Karen Barnes, The Shelton Group

Note: Director of Insight Karen Barnes examines how the global
focus on climate change may continue to impact consumers and marketers
long after the farewell dinner.

Today in Copenhagen, representatives from 192 countries,
environmental activists, global warming opponents, religious leaders
and thousands of other interested parties continue the latest round of
volatile discussions about climate change.

Now I’m not a politician, and I’m not in a position to predict the
geo-political implications of Copenhagen, but I do believe that the
massive gathering could be a tipping point for consumers and marketers
alike.  Here’s why:

The lead story in Tuesday’s USA Today
reported that a majority of Americans support a global treaty to
significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is good news,
because as Tom Friedman and other thought leaders have lamented,
without political will and legislation, we’re not undergoing a green
revolution – instead, we’re just having a green party where things are
fun, easy and require no real change.

Copenhagen could, therefore, be the snowball at the top of the hill that leads to real change.

Whether or not the summit produces a global treaty, other efforts
will follow and, eventually, it’s highly likely that an international
agreement will be reached. Whatever treaty emerges, it’s likely to
impact businesses more directly than consumers. And frankly, that’s
what American consumers want. Our research
shows that Americans are looking to the government and companies to
take the lead in solving pressing issues – global warming among them.

So, are you taking proactive steps or is your company waiting for
legislation? If you’re already taking steps toward more sustainable
operations, what are the next steps? If you’re keeping your head low,
will consumers allow you to wait or will they start drifting toward
products with green attributes?

Important questions to answer as the snowball rolls down the hill.

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