A simple measure of the growth in environmental awareness

The continuous consumer study TGI has asked for respondents’ opinions on a range of topics since the mid-1980s.  Some of its attitude statements have remained constant; others have been added or removed to reflect changing times.  The area of greatest change has been in measuring attitudes to the environment.  Just looking at the statements included in the 1987 and 2012 TGI datasets now held within AMSR is very telling – as is a simple analysis of two of them.

In 1987, only one of about 200 TGI statements was environmentally themed: “I disapprove of aerosols because of their effect on the atmosphere.”  Back then CFCs and their impact on the ozone layer were a regular news topic.  CFCs were to be banned internationally by 1996, but in 1987 the balance of the UK population weren’t persuaded.  More people disagreed with the statement (34%) than agreed (26%).

Aerosol disapproval chart 1987Source: Kantar TGI

25 years later, environmental concern and climate change had become a major issue of the age.  By 2012, TGI included a wide range of statements on many aspects of concern.  One measured people’s fear for the planet’s future, by asking for a reaction to: “The effects of climate change are too far in the future to really worry me”.  41% disagreed, thereby indicating their long-term concern, against 22% who agreed with the statement.

By 2019 the proportion expressing long-term concern had become a majority: 51% now disagree with the statement.

Effects of climate change too far ahead to worry me - chartSource: Kantar TGI

There are still those who profess a lack of worry – the figure of 6% who definitely agree has not changed from 2012 – but it’s clear there has been a transformation in the level of people’s environmental consciousness since 1987’s scepticism about CFCs in aerosols.

Geoff Wicken


TGI (Target Group Index) is a continuous survey which has been carried out in Great Britain since 1969, based on 25,000 adults per annum, who provide information on their use of all major products, brands and services.  Media exposure, attitudinal and demographic data are also included.  Kantar, who own and operate the TGI (Target Group Index) are making major donations of data to AMSR.  Click here to explore the TGI archive within AMSR.

 

 

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