Global warming concern influences Canadian holiday gift giving

According to an independent survey of 1,050 Canadians released by WWF-Canada, nearly a third of Canadians’ gift selection this holiday season has been influenced by concern
about climate change.

At the same time, while eight out of ten respondents surveyed indicated a concern about the state of the environment, a surprising 58% of respondents revealed that they had not changed their purchasing practices, mainly because they haven’t given much thought to it. When prompted for a reason for not taking global warming into consideration in their holiday shopping, most said that their gift buying would have little impact on the problem (21%).

When asked what might encourage them to change, over a third (35%) stated that more information on energy efficiency, greenhouse gases, and reduction methods would help to change their purchasing choices. Cost was not cited as a reason for avoiding climate-friendly purchases, yet 14% said competitive pricing would be encouraging.

Most (74%) respondents established a clear link between a product’s energy use and global warming. A majority (75%) was able to identify Christmas LEDs as more efficient than incandescent Christmas lights. Conversely, when asked to identify the differences in energy efficiency between two of the more popular Christmas purchases, 60% did not know whether an LCD television was more efficient than a Plasma television, even though Plasma televisions use on several times more energy.

As to whether or not governments should mandate energy efficiency, 56% of all respondents thought that Canadian federal and provincial governments should ban products that are not energy efficient.

“Canadians are overwhelmingly worried about global warming but feel uninformed and ill-equipped to do something about it,” says Julia Langer, Director of the Global Threats Program for WWF-Canada. “Clearly, expectations are high for governments, manufacturers and retailers to get rid of the inefficient junk and bunk, and help people translate their concerns into climate-friendly purchasing decisions.”

Quebecers were most likely to deem energy use and global warming related (77%), while Manitoba and Saskatchewan had the lowest proportion of citizens who believed there was a connection (64%). Theremaining provinces reported as follows: Ontario (74%), Alberta (73%), the Maritimes (73%), and British Columbia (72%)*.