The Emergence of the Incentivised Environmentalist

"Give them incentive and they will follow" says Ben McNeil, writing recently in The Age newspaper. 

He highlighted the redirection of "smart money" into 'clean tech' innovation as progressive firms look to gain future advantage in the emerging low carbon ecoomy. Citing a UN finance report, the past year was the "first in which new investment in clean technology (solar, wind, geothermal and biofuels) outstripped the old fossil-fuel economy (coal, gas) - by $US40 billion ($A43 billion)".

The article indicates that in the main, entrepreneurs and businesses will only act on sustainability opportunities when there is a clear financial incentive to do so. In the context of the article, the incentive is the potential price disadvantage of carbon costs, based on intensity of use as an input in the future.

But what about consumers? 

Going green still not so easy for consumers, but barriers to further uptake are clear...

In an extract of his speech titled, "Victoria's Challenge, go green but stay in the black" presented at the 2009 VECCI summit at Parliament House, Melbourne, ceo of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Wayne Kayler-Thomson, posed the following question:

 "...beyond the state-wide implications of the need to move to greater use of renewable energy sources, how do we adapt to the need to incorporate environmental awareness at an individual and organisational level?"

Transparency Key to Consumer Understanding of Sustainability

Many Australian consumers are seeking transparent, credible information about the sustainability credentials of the products they buy, Mobium's Living LOHAS research shows. The Queensland Government has recently acted on this message with the successful introduction of a bill requiring home sellers to complete a 56 point checklist of their home's environmental credentials - a so-called 'Sustainability Declaration'.

Carbon Capture and Storage: Consumers Hear it but Don't Get it

Along with other environmental and sustainability terms, most Australians have heard the words but don't 'get it'. Mobium Group interviews and Living LOHAS surveys of Australians over the past three years have shown that consistently, over 85% of consumers find environmental issues complex and would like clearer information. When it comes to carbon trading, they’ve heard the words and recognise the term, but around 30% can’t provide a definition and half cannot offer an explanation of the impact on their own lives. Of those who can, the most common response is, ‘Prices will rise!’.

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