One of the few positives to emerge from the pandemic has been the effect lockdown has had on the environment.
With fewer cars on the streets and planes in the sky we’ve seen levels of air pollution drop, reduced seismic noise and emissions of toxic fumes fall to levels not seen for more than 70 years.
Even in the midst of a global pandemic, globally climate change has remained one of the top three things consumers feel at risk from over the next five years according to a 2020 study by the Foresight Factory. Understandably, a high percentage of global consumers feel at risk from infectious disease and financial hardship, but many now feel that climate change presents a significant personal risk.
Climate concerns are now mainstream, hence the growing level of support for a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis, with the strongest public approval coming for tree planting, offshore wind power, electric public transport and grants for EV purchases by businesses and individuals. Even previously unpalatable ideas such as the carbon tax seem to be gaining traction amongst the Irish public.
Sustainability has become more than a tick box for corporate social responsibility for brands. It has become good business practice to help meet customer demand but also increase efficiency, attract talent and create new opportunities.
However, the Green Movement needs to be wary of resting on its laurels, and needs to engage with groups such as “Disengaged Traditionalists’. These are people who recognise environmental risks like air pollution, but are far from sold on the need for climate action, seeing it as a problem for foreign governments to deal with.
These groups often feel unheard and unrepresented, and don’t relish being made to feel guilty about the type of holidays they take or the cars they drive. In order to be successful there’s a need to communicate to them in a positive, relatable, straight-talking way about how green jobs and the broader green economy can tangibly benefit their lives and that of their future generations.
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