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Market News

 August 25, 2009
In Spite of Recession, Environment Remains a High Priority

 According to Harris Decima Senior Vice-President Jeff Walker; "In contrast to prevailing views that environmental efforts recede in a recession, Canadians continue to integrate environmentally sustainable behaviours into their lives, and overwhelmingly believe that much more can and should be done".

More than seven in ten Canadians say environmental consciousness is
something that is becoming more important to them over the past few years. 71% of respondents said environmental conservation is more important to them than it was a few years ago.

25% said it was no more or less important to them than a few years ago, while just 2% said it was less important to them personally. No less than 60% of respondents in any region said environmental conservation was becoming more important to them. There was a divide across voting intention lines, with Conservatives being less likely than other voters to say environmental conservation was becoming more important to them over the past few years. 

Unsurprisingly, given that environmental conservation is becoming more important to them, most Canadians believe that the current focus on the environment is not going far enough. 74% of respondents said that the current focus on the environment is not going far enough, almost four times the number who said that the focus on the environment was going too far (19%).

 

Conservatives and residents west of Ontario were most likely to say that the focus on the environment had gone too far, while men (24%) were more likely than women (14%) to say so.

In spite of the recession, Canadians are making more of an effort to be environmentally conscious than they were a year ago. 73% of respondents were of this position, while 24% are making no more or less effort. Just 2% of respondents were making less of an effort than a year ago.

A strong majority among all regions and demo groups were of this view, although there was a divergence across gender with women (77%) being more likely than men (69%) to say they were making more of an effort to be environmentally conscious than they were a year ago. 

Most believe that environmentally friendly choices are more costly in general, but that part of this cost is negated in the long term. In general, 60% of respondents believe that environmentally friendly products and services are most costly, while 31% feel these choices are about the same cost and 4% feel the cost is less for environmentally friendly choices.

When it comes to the cost of environmentally friendly choices in the longer term, a plurality (46%) felt these costs were similar to other choices, while 39% maintained these choices were more costly over the longer term.

 

2 in 3 believe the environment should remain a top priority, even while the economy is struggling. 67% of respondents were of this view, while 26% felt that governments should focus on economic growth and make the environment a secondary priority.

This viewpoint was most prevalent in eastern Canada, with those west of Ontario more likely than average to say the focus should be on economic growth. Across voting intention lines, Conservatives are much less likely than others to believe the environment should remain a top priority for governments.

Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through teleVox, the company’s national telephone omnibus survey. These data were gathered between July 23 and July 26 2009. A sample of the same size has a margin of error of 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

For More Information: Harris/Decima