Americans Are Concerned About Climate Change but Question Their Personal Impact, According to Cone/Porter Novelli Research

Americans are looking to companies to take a lead in addressing climate change
Sep 12, 2018 11:15 AM ET

2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Climate Change Snapshot

BOSTON, September 12, 2018 /3BL Media/ – The majority of Americans (62%) say they believe climate change is a problem, according to the 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Climate Change Snapshot. The research finds that although many Americans feel unempowered to address climate change, they are hopeful companies will take the lead.

In fact, less than four-in-10 (38%) Americans feel their actions can make a real difference in addressing climate change. Yet, even as individuals may feel personally powerless, they do see companies as critical players in progress. Fifty-eight percent say that in the absence of government progress, companies should take the lead.

When it comes to how companies should address climate change, many Americans believe companies should first look within – by reducing energy usage and developing new products – then look to engage partners in the corporate, government and nonprofit sectors.

  • Reduce energy use or emissions (64%)
  • Create new products that are better for the environment (57%)
  • Work with other companies that are also committed to the issue (44%)
  • Lobby for government policies that address climate change (33%)
  • Donate to nonprofits that address climate change (27%)
  • Provide consumers with information about how climate change impacts individuals (17%)
  • Provide consumers with tools to take action (16%)

“Although the United States is currently the only country globally that is not committed to the Paris Climate Accord, U.S. citizens are not turning their attention away from the effects of climate change,” says Alison DaSilva, EVP, CSR and Purpose, Cone. “Americans are looking to companies to make large-scale change in addressing climate change and feel business has the size, acumen and resources to make a meaningful impact.”

Political Affiliation and Gender Play a Role in Climate Change Opinions

The study confirmed that differences exist when it comes to viewpoints on climate change. Political affiliation and gender are two of the strongest indicators of climate change stances.

Democrats are the most likely group to say climate change is a problem (84%), followed by Independents (62%) and finally Republicans (37%). More than three-quarters (76%) of Democrats also see companies as the leading stakeholder to addressing climate change in the absence of government progress (vs. Independent 57%; Republican 38%).

Differences exist among gender as well. Women are more likely than men to believe climate change is a problem (66% female vs. 59% of men) and while male and females are equal in believing companies should lead (59% female vs. 58% male), their perspectives on how companies should address climate change differ. Although both genders agree reducing energy or emissions is a primary method (63% female vs. 64% male), women are more likely to believe companies should innovate products to be better for the environment (60% female vs. 55% male) and that donations can be an important way to drive change (31% female vs. 23% male).

“With the midterm elections less than two months away, topics like climate change will be foremost in the minds of many American constituents – not just in terms of the candidates they vote for, but also the businesses they support,” says Aaron Pickering, SVP, CSR and Purpose, Cone. “Today more than ever, it’s critical for companies to proactively communicate with stakeholders the ways in which they are working to address climate change.”

Interested in learning more about the intersection of climate change and consumer engagement?

  • Talk with the experts: Alison DaSilva and Aaron Pickering are available for interviews. Please contact Whitney Dailey ( / 617.939.8376) to coordinate.
  • Read the 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Climate Change Snapshot fact sheet. Available by request.


About the Research

The 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Climate Change Snapshot presents results based on Porter Novelli’s online Styles survey of 2,292 U.S. adults (1095 males and 1197 females) conducted from March 21 – April 11, 2018. Data are weighted to be demographically representative of the U.S. population. The margin of error is ± 2% at a 95% level of confidence for the overall sample and higher among subgroups.

About Cone

Cone is a public relations and marketing agency that is Always Making a Difference℠ for business, brands and society. We help organizations define their authentic Purpose, weaving it into the brand DNA to both grow the business and positively impact the world. Our deep subject matter expertise in Purpose Brand Strategy, CSR, Social Marketing, Social Impact and Brand Communications creates breakthrough work and unforgettable experiences to ignite action around issues that matter. Cone is a Porter Novelli company and part of the Omnicom Public Relations Group.

About Porter Novelli

Porter Novelli is a global public relations agency born from the idea that the art of communication can advance society. Over 45 years ago, we opened our doors – and people’s eyes and minds – for brands driven to make a positive impact. Today, we are a global agency with the entrepreneurial spirit of boutique specialists. We continue to build that bridge between purpose and business imperatives, and believe that a healthy bottom line can also make a remarkable impact. For additional information, please visit Porter Novelli is a part of the Omnicom Public Relations Group.

About Omnicom Public Relations Group

Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to women, fashion, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,000 public relations professionals in more than 330 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.