65% of UAE consumers willing to change spending habits to make a difference

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Corporates and investors aren’t the only ones increasingly conscious about whether their money is going to change the world for the better – ordinary consumers are, too.

65% of UAE consumers willing to change spending habits to make a difference

In a survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), it was found that the majority (65 percent) of consumers in the UAE and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region (80 percent) are willing to live more sustainably.

Living sustainably involves making changes to consumption habits to ensure minimal use of natural resources, as well as reducing emission, waste and pollution. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, it means “rethinking” people’s ways of living, how they buy and what they consume every day.

Sustainability is becoming a popular buzzword within the investment space in the region.

A report by IFC Advisory Services in Sustainable Business had cited previous estimates that sustainability-related assets under management in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region reached more than $54 billion. Within the global context, the levels are low, but they are said to be higher than in China and India.

Global warming

Among UAE consumers, BCG’s study found that awareness related to the mounting challenges posed by global warming is particularly high, with about eight in ten (81 percent) saying they are largely aware of climate change and how the issue negatively affects the environment.

More than a third (36 percent) also believe that climate change is having a significant influence on personal lives, while around 75 percent anticipate that the issue will impact future generations.

“Many people believe that environmentally sustainable lifestyle will play a bigger role in the future and an encouraging number of people wish to make – or are making – progress with eco-friendly behaviour and purchases,” said Cristiano Rizzi, managing director and partner of BCG Middle East.

“The UAE is ideally placed to develop an eco-tourist destination and we expect the hospitality sector to benefit from those efforts over the next decade,” said Rizzi.

More awareness

According to Simon Birkebaek, partner at BCG Middle East, more people are likely to consider sustainability when making purchase decisions if there is increased focus on promoting awareness around the issue.

“Climate change concerns in the UAE have increased due to greater access to information and successful government and corporate-backed initiatives, most notably the UAE Vision 2021 and the inclusion of sustainability in Expo 2020,” Birkebaek said.

“If public and private sectors were to do even more to facilitate awareness initiatives, encourage green infrastructure investments, and offer a wider choice of affordable eco-friendly goods and services, then more people will choose to pursue even more sustainable lifestyle,” he added.

There is also the cost factor to consider, as consumers tend to get discouraged from making lifestyle changes that require them to spend a lot of money.

In the UAE, around 20 percent of wastes produced at present are recycled, reused and recovered – significantly higher than man other GCC states. However, BCG noted that not a lot of consumers are using electric vehicles.

Therefore, it said, understanding the perceived obstacles for consumers to take action is important in terms of advancing the green agenda.

Reporting by Cleofe Maceda

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Source : Zawya | Photocredit : Google

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