A very large proportion of Indians say that they are aware of climate change and are keen to address it, but do not have the option to buy environment-friendly products.

According to a research by the Mahindra Group, the principal explanation for this paradox is the absence of suitable environment-friendly products and services at an affordable price.

According to Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group, “It is time for action. Business cannot be divorced from the consequences of climate change on the world we share and the people we love.”

Concerned about climate change

The Mahindra Group’s inaugural ‘Alternativism 1’ report reveals that four out of five (80 per cent) Indians are aware of the impact of plastic and waste management on climate change, while three out of four respondents (75 per cent) claim to be ‘concerned’ about the risks that single-use plastics pose to the environment.

In addition, 83 per cent of Indians describe themselves as ‘interested’ in making lifestyle changes such as carpooling, using public transport or driving electric vehicles to conserve energy.

The report said that 70 per cent of respondents are ‘aware and informed’ about the environmental issue of water conservation, while more than two out of three (68 per cent) are ‘concerned’ about water shortages in the near future that countries, including India, are almost certain to face. 70 per cent of respondents would like their employers to conserve water by using aerators, doing rainwater harnessing, recycling waste water among other initiatives.

Indians’ expectations from the business community are very clear. 89 per cent believe they would be able to address climate change more actively if companies offered alternative products and solutions.

Finding alternatives

According to the research, just over a quarter (27 per cent) of Indians are able to find alternative products minimising their use of plastic. 88 per cent of respondents believe that it is the absence of affordable, eco-friendly alternatives, that prevents them from being more environmentally considerate in their daily lives.

Anirban Ghosh, Chief Sustainability Officer, Mahindra Group, said, “As the research confirms, today’s generation of Indians are more environmentally conscious than at any time in our long history. However, to transform this awareness into action, consumers need viable, environment-friendly alternatives. The business community will be increasingly accountable not merely for the products it develops, but also the manner in which it behaves. The message is unequivocal: it is for business to take up the environmental baton.”