GCC Consumers Ready To Shift To Sustainable Lifestyles

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GCC Consumers Shift To Sustainable Lifestyles

New research by Boston Consulting Group reveals 80 per cent of consumers are willing to shift to sustainable lifestyles and 71 per cent know about climate change and its negative impact on the environment.

Consumers in the six Arab Gulf countries namely Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar, have spoken: They are ready to go green with their lifestyles. 

According to the latest study of consumers by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), 80 percent of participants to its survey in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are willing to live more sustainably, while some 56 per cent strongly feel that they should alter their everyday lives and become more considerate of their activities towards the environment.

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The respondents showed a high level of awareness as well about the increasing threats of climate change and the urgent need to take climate action. From 6,000 respondents surveyed in July 2020, an average of 71 per cent expressed that they know about climate change and its negative impact on the environment, with the UAE recording the highest level of awareness at 81 percent, while Kuwait posted the lowest at 52 per cent.

However, the willingness to make the change requires more push and seeks for support systems that will enable consumers to make the changes in their lifestyles. In a report titled, ‘Are Consumers in the Gulf States Ready to Go Green?’, researchers from BCG wrote that increased attention given by governments and the private sector, as well as wider access to information have been making an impact on people’s mindset.

While many are concerned about climate change, consumers find barriers to shifting to sustainable lifestyles. The topmost concern is that it is ‘too expensive to maintain’, followed by a ‘lack of information’. Respondents also mentioned the ‘limited opportunities in the city’ and ‘social pressures to maintain lifestyles’ as hindrances.

The region continues to lag globally in adopting sustainable practices such as recycling, reusing, and recovering plastic and metal waste where it only has a 10 percent adoption rate, 22 percent less than the global average. Electric vehicles are also yet to become a trend, citing that high cost prevents car owners for making the shift, the report noted.

Cristiano Rizzi, Managing Director and Partner, BCG Middle East, said: “There are growing calls for more recycling and renewable energy information, as well as guidance on how to live more sustainably and reduce energy consumption. At the same time, people also want to see more investment geared towards sustainable infrastructure – particularly in recycling, renewable energy, public transportation, and eco-tourism.”

Rizzi further explained that increasing interest in sustainable goods and services could serve companies with potential growth opportunities if they adapted their go-to-market strategies that meet consumers’ changing demands for better options, more accessible price points, and better promotion of the benefits of sustainability. 

We believe that governments and the private sector in the GCC can promote far wider adoption of environmentally sustainable practices with initiatives on four key fronts: improving awareness and knowledge, investing in sustainable infrastructure, incentivizing sustainable behavior, and expanding and communicating product offerings,” the researchers concluded.