Consumers skeptical tech firms are doing enough to minimize environmental impact

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
August 19, 2021, 7:06 PM UTC

A UN climate change report issued a “code red for humanity this month, predicting a quicker global warming than anticipated even just a few years ago. The report will no doubt inform negotiations during November’s landmark COP26 climate talks in Glasgow. 

New YouGov research conducted in 17 markets around the world reveals that only around one in eight consumers (13%) believe tech companies in general are doing enough to help minimize their environmental impact. That’s compared to three in ten global consumers who say tech companies aren’t doing enough (30%). 

The tech industry isn’t an outlier among the ten sectors we tested in our research. From banks to automotive companies, between 11% and 14% of consumers say each are doing enough. Hospitals and health services do stand out, with 21% saying they do enough to minimize environmental impact. 

Tech companies have touted their efforts to help minimize their emissions footprint. For example, Apple claims its operations run on renewable energy; HP said recently it has reached its goal of 100% zero deforestation with its HP-branded paper two years ahead of schedule; and by 2023, 70% of Microsoft’s massive data centers will run on renewable energy. 

Looking specifically at the performance of tech companies, there is a wide range of opinions around the world on whether they’re doing enough. 

Online consumers in Indonesia, for example, are most likely to say tech firms are doing enough (30%), compared to those in the other 16 markets in which YouGov conducted research. Behind them on our list is the United Arab Emirates (28%) and India (25%).   

Consumers in developed economies, such as Denmark (5%), the United Kingdom (6%), and France (8%) are low on our list of markets who think tech companies are doing enough to protect the environment. The United States falls just shy of the global average at 12%. 

While for the most part there is no substantial difference among sectors, it’s apparent that most consumers around the world think brands could either do more or are not doing enough. 

A brand’s environmental credit is tremendously important to its future success. Separate consumer profiling data from YouGov shows half (52%) of Americans say sustainability or environmental impact has some influence or a lot of influence on them when deciding what product to buy. 

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 585 and 2,065 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in July 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.