Environmental Concerns Gets Personal in Asia

On April 22, people from all walks of life from every corner of the globe, came together for Earth Day to raise awareness and devote a day to the future of our planet.

We often hear news about environmental issues, how it has affected our daily lives near and far. Asia has always been a region central to such news – a region blessed with rich biodiversity but prone to natural disasters and increasing issues that culminate from rapid economic development.

In light of Earth Day, Rakuten AIP surveyed consumers in 12 Asian countries to see what environmental issues are top of mind – having the most impact to your country, and separately, having the most impact to you personally. We also reached out to consumers in the US, UK and France to see if there’s any differences or similarities across the pacific and atlantic.

We began by asking what environmental issue has the most impact to your country. In all but two countries (Thailand and the Philippines), air and water pollution was the top pick for having the most impact on their country. For Thailand and the Philippines, it came in as second, right behind deforestation and climate change respectively. Climate change is consistently seen as a key concern for most countries.

Which environmental issue do you think has the most impact to your country? (Select one)

Data sorted by Top impact % by countries in Asia, followed by FR, US, UK

graph1

It’s noteworthy that countries in eastern Asia excluding Japan (China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong) are more concerned with air and water pollution than its counterparts in South/Southeast Asia, even the US, UK and France. China is unique in that air and water pollution is ranked so high that all other issues trail far behind.

Country specific concerns begin to surface as we look closer at the second/third rankings – e.g. deforestation in Malaysia, Vietnam and India, over population in India, Hong Kong and the Philippines, natural disasters in Indonesia, Japan and South Korea, etc.

We then asked what single environmental issue has the most impact on you, personally. Astoundingly, air and water pollution was the top personal concern in every country, even for Thailand and the Philippines where it was previously second when asked at the country level.

Which environmental issue do you think has the most impact on you, personally?

Data sorted by Top impact % by countries in Asia, followed by FR, US, UK

graph2

Air and water pollution gets personal, affecting your day-to-day life. Concern for air and water pollution notably rose in Vietnam when asked about personal impact, with a % above all but China.

environment-map

% Air and water pollution as Top impact personally

Climate change is consistently second highest in issues of personal concern for every single country we surveyed. You begin to see country specific concerns only when you look at the third most impactful issues:

  • Natural disasters in Japan, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, France and the US
  • Deforestation in Vietnam, India and Thailand
  • Water scarcity in Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore
  • Over population in Hong Kong, the Philippines and the UK

It’s evident that air and water pollution, as well as climate change are top concerns to consumers not only in Asia, but across the globe. They know no borders, which makes global efforts like Earth Day all the more important as we look into the future. At the same time, country specific environmental issues reflect the voices of local concerns, calling the need for local action plans. The diversity of Asia is no such exception. It takes a village – in the case of environmental issues, it takes a global village to better the local lives of consumers across the planet.

The environment is personal – a reflection of who we are, what we do and value. What will you do?

■Survey Details
Markets: Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, US, UK, France
Sample Size: 400+ per country
Methodology: Online Survey using Rakuten AIP proprietary panels
Timing: April 3-19 2017
Note: Answer choices selected from following list: Acid deposition, Air and water pollution, Climate change, Deforestation, Desertification, Energy sources, Loss of biodiversity, Natural disasters, Overpopulation, Sea level rise, Soil erosion, Species extinction, Water scarcity, Other.

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