According to recent Ipsos research, a high of 83% of global consumers agree that “We are heading for environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly.” There is a strong belief that consumers, companies and governments all share responsibility in combating the harmful effects of climate change. Online, consumers are already showing their commitment to the issue with social volumes for #sustainability doubling in the past year.
Although the “social” component of ESG has increased in mentions, environment-related topics are still outperforming. When consumers were asked, “Which three of the following actions, if any, do you think would have the most impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions?”, switching to purchasing renewable electricity ranks second (30%) after recycling (49%).
However, the reality is that the energy sector (specifically the burning of fossil fuels in production of heat and electricity) has the biggest impact on global emissions and hence global warming. Globally, the primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions are electricity and heat (31%), agriculture (11%), transportation (15%), forestry (6%) and manufacturing (12%).
Online, there is clear interest among consumers in being part of the energy sustainability movement and doing what they can to support our planetary health. Solar power is one of the most-discussed conversation topics related to sustainability. And in social media conversations related to climate change, “fossil fuels” and “natural gas” are among the top phrases associated with negative sentiment.
The challenges for the energy industry don’t stop there: in the latest Reputation Council report by Ipsos, 117 senior communicators from some of the most respected corporations in the world were asked which industries are facing the greatest reputation challenges at the moment. Unsurprisingly, given the global context of the war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, and ongoing debates around net zero, energy security, and windfall taxes – nearly half (46%) of Council members responded with energy/oil & gas a top industry facing reputation challenges. One of the participants expressed, “I do think you’ve got big oil and energy companies that are really under pressure to show (that they are) reducing their carbon footprint. I think there’s a big spotlight on that.”
Both social and survey data show us that there is strong consumer demand for innovation in the field of energy efficiency. This represents pressure but also opportunities for the energy companies of the world to develop solutions that support consumers in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and - at the same time - pay less for energy.
To help energy companies keep up with evolving consumer attitudes and spot new opportunities for innovation, Ipsos and Synthesio have launched a new syndicated offering: 'Energy & Utilities consumer pulse'. With on-demand insights and analysis from social data, brands can:
- Explore their market and brand perception by racking major topics and competitors
- Spot unmet consumer needs and new consumer-driven ideas in the energy industry
- Identify and anticipate emerging trends likely to impact your ESG mission, messaging, and communication strategy