Arab youth 'will boycott brands that damage the environment'

More than half of young Arabs (56 per cent) say they are concerned about climate change, and a similar number will boycott a brand seen to be operating in a way that damages the environment.

More than two fifths of respondents feel Arab governments should do more on climate change
More than two fifths of respondents feel Arab governments should do more on climate change

The findings from the 13th annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey reflect growing concerns towards climate change and climate action, with nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) youth willing to boycott a brand for not respecting the environment.

Over half (56 per cent) of young Arabs in north Africa and 51 per cent in the Levant echoed that sentiment. 

For the survey, which coincides with COP26, the global strategic research and analytics specialist PSB Insights conducted 3,400 face-to-face interviews with Arab youth aged between 18 and 24 in 50 cities and territories in 17 states in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in June 2021.

Sunil John, president, MENA, BCW, and founder of ASDA’A BCW, said: “In 2008, during the inaugural Arab Youth Survey, just 11 per cent of youth surveyed felt climate change and the environment were the biggest challenges facing the world. Fast forward 13 years, and climate change dominates the youth agenda, with 56 per cent saying they are concerned by the issues. This is an eye-opener for governments and private enterprises in the region on the urgent need to embrace positive climate action.

“While Arab youth are voicing their concern about climate change, the majority seem to have trust in a combination of government initiatives, technological advancement and individual action to help drive the climate action agenda. If we view the ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey as a barometer of sentiment, it seems the aspiration of young Arabs is one of encouraging governments and businesses to take a strong stance on sustainability.”

More than two fifths (43 per cent) of respondents feel Arab governments should be doing more than other countries to address climate change, and therefore take a leading position on the world stage to address the important issues.

Additionally, 37 per cent of youth think their government has the same responsibility as others globally, and only 20 per cent say their government should be doing less than others. 

Nearly eight out of 10 (79 per cent) of young people in the GCC strongly feel their government is capable of driving effective climate change mitigation measures, while in North Africa, 43 per cent feel their governments will be capable of dealing with climate change issues. However, only 26 per cent of those surveyed in the Levant region believe their government is up to the task of dealing with climate change, showing wide disparities in the region. 

Further, in the GCC, 44 per cent of respondents said Arab nations should be doing more than other nations. In North Africa, 39 per cent expect strong leadership action, compared to 45 per cent in the Levant - suggesting it is a regional imperative to show global leadership on climate issues.

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