Poll Reveals Resource Scarcity Impacts Consumer Behaviors
Submitted by Tetra Pak
Despite the staggering rate of global natural resource consumption, resource constraints are still not a top of mind issue for Americans. However when knowledge and information is shared around resource scarcity, consumer attitudes, actions, and perceptions shift, according to a new snapshot survey from Tetra Pak Inc. undertaken with international sustainability think tank Global Footprint Network.
The findings come as the world marks Earth Overshoot Day, the day humanity has used up nature’s budget for the entire year, as determined by Global Footprint Network’s resource accounts.
Humanity’s demand on the planet has moved Earth Overshoot Day from early October in 2000 to August 13 this year. Carbon sequestration makes up more than half of that demand, according to Global Footprint Network.
Tetra Pak and Global Footprint Network surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers who make decisions about groceries. Among the survey highlights, only 41% of respondents report being very aware of the issue of resource constraints. However, an overwhelming number of respondents (86%) said that if they knew that use of renewable packaging contributed to reduced carbon emissions and helped slow climate change, it would impact their choice of packaging. This was particularly the case with women—90% of women would choose renewable packaging if they knew it would help cut carbon emissions, vs. 77% of men.
“With the heightened focus on climate change ahead of the U.N. Climate Conference in Paris in December, it is important not to overlook the role that renewable packaging and sustainable sourcing can play both in keeping the climate in balance and allowing precious natural resources to be renewed,” said Elisabeth Comere, Director of Environment & Government Affairs for Tetra Pak U.S. and Canada.
“Our survey confirms our belief that with information and education, consumers will respond favorably to the need to pay closer attention to resource challenges and change their individual actions, including making more environmentally responsible decisions around packaging,” Comere added.
She noted that in addition to helping address climate change, using packaging from renewable materials helps preserve precious natural non-renewable resources by providing supply alternatives that can be sustainability harvested and sourced and re-grown or replenished over time.
The survey also explored specific actions respondents would be willing to do to conserve natural resources, such as pay more for water and restrict use, or search for clean, renewable energy alternatives. Seeking out food or beverages that came in renewable packaging was among the top three actions that respondents said they would be willing to take. The other actions were buying locally grown food as much as possible, buying only the food that a household was going to consume and consuming all the food bought.
“How we meet our basic needs—including food—is a powerful way to shape sustainability. Eating food from local sources and less emphasis on animal-based diets can lower the Ecological Footprint,” said Mathis Wackernagel, president and co-founder of Global Footprint Network. ”When we buy packaged foods, opting for packaging made from renewable materials also contributes to a lower Ecological Footprint.”
In the survey, consumers said they are ready to be held as accountable as government and industry and support the need to do more—from changing their own behaviors to recognizing the need for companies to consider all facets of the lifecycle of products and packaging. Overwhelmingly, respondents (81%) said that no one group (individuals, industry, government) is responsible for addressing natural resource constraint, and a majority of respondents believe that neither individuals, industry, nor government are doing enough.
Individual actions by region can be found in the attached infographic and at http://www.doingwhatsgood.us/moving-to-the-front/sub/embrace-renewability.
To learn more about resource scarcity and Tetra Pak’s commitment to renewable resources, visit www.doingwhatsgood.us/moving-to-the-front.
ABOUT TETRA PAK
Tetra Pak is the world's leading food processing and packaging solutions company. Working closely with our customers and suppliers, we provide safe, innovative and environmentally sound products that each day meet the needs of hundreds of millions of people in more than 170 countries around the world. With more than 23,000 employees based in over 80 countries, we believe in responsible industry leadership and a sustainable approach to business. Our motto, “PROTECTS WHAT’S GOOD™," reflects our vision to make food safe and available, everywhere. More information about Tetra Pak is available at www.tetrapakusa.com.
Tetra Pak is a multinational food packaging and processing company.
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