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Consumers Fighting Climate Change [Social Technologies]

Social ) Technologies
1776 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 815
Washington, DC 20036
Main office: +1 202 223 2801 www.socialtechnologies.com
Email: Hope Katz Gibbs

CONSUMERS FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE: Some consumers are taking it on themselves to fight climate change. While this trend is just emerging, it could be a sign of things to come in the next 10–15 years.

Washington, DC, November 19, 2007—More products and services are being offered at the consumer level that are explicitly intended to fight human-caused climate change—the rise in temperatures and other changes attributed to excess carbon dioxide from human activities, according to the futurist research firm Social Technologies. This trend could be an early indicator of popular sentiment in 10 to 15 years.

“In the US, amid considerable debate over whether climate change is in fact human-induced, the issue has become prominent,” explains Social Technologies futurist John Cashman, author of the brief “Consumers Fighting Climate Change: One Household at a Time.” “The aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 sparked further discussion about global climate change and made real, for many, ideas that had been only abstractions.”

In Europe, though, most people see climate change as a real threat and advocate aggressive action to counter it. “Headlines such as ‘This Is Global Warming,’ accompanied satellite images of the hurricanes as they approached land in the southern US,” Cashman notes.

In response to heightened attention to climate change, some consumers are choosing to fight back. “A recent survey found that most Americans would be willing to pay higher fuel taxes if they knew the money would be used to curtail climate change and US dependency on foreign oil,” he adds. “Short of that, they say they are happy to purchase climate-friendly products such as low-energy light bulbs, fuel cells and other alternative energy supplies for home use, and climate-friendlier home appliances and cars.”

CONSUMER SERVICES FOR CLIMATE-FRIENDLINESS

Many consumers are also eager to purchase a growing list of services that help them work for climate stabilization, including information services, climate credits, green mortgages, and energy services like wind, solar, and other renewable power.
“Retailers are also responding to consumer interest in climate-friendly products,” Cashman says. “For example, the upscale grocery chain Whole Foods announced in 2006 it would buy carbon credits to cancel out the environmental impact of its stores, offices, and distribution centers.”

Wal-Mart is working toward a goal of using a 100% renewable energy supply. “If this happens, it could have a substantial impact on how other corporations approach their own climate change policies.”

BUSINESS IMPLICATIONS

• Many product areas present opportunities to offer carbon-offset options. Rather than simply calculating how much electricity an entire household uses, a consumer might want to offset just an oven or a gas-powered lawn mower.
• As personal climate impacts become clearer and more transparent, carbon impacts may eventually appear on labeling.
• Upper- and middle-income consumers in World 1 may make their personal efforts to offset environmental impacts a point of pride. Bumper stickers and clothes advertising “zero impact” could proliferate and become a core middle-class value.

LEARN MORE
For more information about how consumers are fighting climate change, please set up an interview with John Cashman by contacting Hope Gibbs (hope.gibbs@socialtechnologies.com).

JOHN CASHMAN ) Futurist / Leader of Social Technologies’ Shanghai office
John Cashman runs Social Technologies’ office in Shanghai, China, where he reports on change in one of the fastest-changing countries on the planet. An experienced writer and analyst, John has researched and authored dozens of reports on a wide range of future-related topics for industry, government, and associations. He also speaks frequently on topics related to lifestyles change. John received his MA in political science from the University of Hawaii and a BA in government from the University of Maryland. Areas of expertise: Boomers / Gen X / Gen Y, China and Chinese consumers.

About ) SOCIAL TECHNOLOGIES
Social Technologies is a global research and consulting firm specializing in the integration of foresight, strategy, and innovation. With offices in Washington DC, London, and Shanghai, Social Technologies serves the world’s leading companies, government agencies, and nonprofits. A holistic, long-term perspective combined with actionable business solutions helps clients mitigate risk, make the most of opportunities, and enrich decision-making. For information visit www.socialtechnologies.com, our blog: http://changewaves.socialtechnologies.com, and our newsletter: www.socialtechnologies.com/changewaves.

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"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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