Protecting the environment and fighting climate change: Individual responsibility and the role of governments and companies

WIN International, the world’s leading association in market research and polling has published the Annual WIN World Survey (WWS – 2020) exploring the views and beliefs of 29,252 individuals among citizens from 34 countries across the globe. The survey analyzes views and opinions related to the perception of climate change in 2020 and the importance of sustainable development worldwide. Overall, 85% of the world population considers climate change a threat to humanity, and 54% believes that it is not too late to fight it, with the support and example of governments and companies, and without forgetting the responsibility of individuals. But how does Italy fit into the international framework? In our country, 89% see climate change as a threat, and 52% think there is time to fight it.

CLIMATE CHANGE IS A THREAT TO HUMANITY – Climate change has been a reality for several years and one of its main consequences is global warming, perceived as a threat to humanity by 85% of the world population interviewed [1] (in the Asia Pacific region and the Americas the share is even higher, with 87% of the population believing that global warming is a threat). Vietnam (97%), South Korea (94%), Chile (93%), Indonesia (92%), India, Ecuador and China (91%) are the countries where the threat is most felt and shared by the population.

ACTIONS TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE – It is interesting to note that about 8 out of 10 people are convinced that their daily personal actions can help improve the environment, a belief that seems more common among women (83%) than men (79%). Globally, people in the American region are even more strongly convinced (86%), followed by Europe (80%). Furthermore, 54% of the world’s population do not believe that it is too late to stop climate change, and the share has increased by 6% compared to 2019 (48%), which means that more people are convinced that there is still time for take action against climate change. Among the most optimistic regions of the world we find once again the Americas (61%) and Europe (58%), where the majority of people believe that improvements are still possible for the benefit of our environment. People in the APAC and MENA regions appear to be less optimistic (47% each).

SUSTAINABILITY: A SOCIETAL BEFORE INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY – Sustainability is widely spoken about because it involves many different sectors and activities and aims to improve the environment and society in which we live. When it comes to climate change, the discussion often revolves around the responsibility, whether it is of the individual or whether, at a broader level, of governments and companies: 67% of the world population believes that real efforts in terms of sustainability must be made by companies and governments rather than individuals only, with India (86%), South Korea (86%) and France (83%) among the countries where people most agree with this view.

In line with the belief that personal actions can have an impact and that it is not too late to stop climate change, 66% of the world’s population say they would like to live more sustainably, even though they find that they often don’t make the necessary changes to their behavior: among the people most ready to admit it we find citizens in the APAC region and in America, in particular Paraguay (90%), South Korea (81%), Philippines (77%), India (77%) and Chile (76%), which are at the top of the rankings.

ITALY AND EUROPE – In line with the world average, 89% of Italians believe that climate change is a serious threat to humanity, a figure slightly higher than the European average which stands at 84%. Italians also seem slightly less optimistic than the rest of European citizens: 52% of Italians think there is still time to stem climate change, compared to 57% of European citizens.

Far higher than the world and European average is the share of Italians who believe that their daily actions can really help protect and preserve the environment and stem climate change: 88% of Italians think so, while the European average is 80% and the world average is 81%. The belief that one’s actions can have an important impact does not entirely go hand in hand with undertaking them: 67% of Italians would like to live in a more sustainable way, but often do not know how to change their behavior in order to do so. Furthermore, 71% of Italians think that a real commitment to sustainability must be introduced by governments and companies.

VILMA SCARPINO, PRESIDENT OF WIN AND CEO BVA DOXA, SAYS: “The WIN Worldwide Survey shows once again that the majority of the world’s population considers climate change a serious threat to humanity and 54% think it is not too late to stem climate change. Citizens around the world are aware of their responsibility when it comes to applying sustainable behaviors in their daily lives but, at the same time, they expect businesses and governments to play their part as well. Considering that many want to live in a more sustainable way, the efforts of governments and companies towards sustainability could also be a driver for the behavioral change of individuals“.



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