About the meaning of “environmental sustainability” – insights from 20 countries.

What does Environmental Sustainability mean in Different Cultures?

The team behind the Sustainability Perception Index analyses the meaning of "environmental sustainability" around the globe:

What does "being sustainable" mean for people from different countries?

Key Findings

In China, being "environmentally sustainable" stands for "getting rid of the smog". People mostly associate it with "using clean and renewable energy" (49%) as well as "reducing pollution" (44%). Both values are the highest among all 20 countries polled.

Germans rate the "use natural materials" and "waste reduction" highest among the 3 countries, mirroring their position as "Recycling Weltmeister"

"Developing new ways to help maintain the planet" is far above average in the United States.

We use "Sustainability" as a term often, but its meaning blurs

Sustainability is an urgent and important topics for many brands and organisations. We would even argue: it is the mega-trend of this young decade and no brand can afford to ignore it. On the other hand, this relevance makes it so ubiquitously used, that its meaning is becoming more and more blurry.

The United Nations is very clear about what they consider sustainable: the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a staple to read. For us at Dalia and the Brand Managers we work with it is unfortunately not that easy.

The meaning of "Environmental Sustainability" for Consumers

But what does "Sustainability" mean for people? Does it have the same meaning for consumers in central Europe as for people in Asia, for instance? Honestly speaking, we doubted that - and started to investigate the meaning of environmental sustainability. We followed an approach we master: asking consumers around the world.

Therefore, we posed the following questions: for you personally, what does it mean to be "environmentally sustainable"? The differences between countries are revealing - and shed light on the debates that are happening in different regions of the world. Unsurprisingly, they also mirror cultural differences.

Sustainability Insights: follow us

In the following weeks, we will publish more of the results. Hence, make sure to follow Dalia on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Sustainability Perception Index covers 20 markets

We ran this research in all countries that we covered in the Sustainability Perception Index. Our landmark study about perceived environmental sustainability of brands.

Reach out if you want to learn more!