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Plastic waste is a major concern in Thailand



Plastic waste is a major concern in Thailand

A recent study by Kantar, the world’s leading evidence-based insights and consulting company, reveals that the #1 environmental concern for people in Thailand is plastic waste. It is the top priority for 18% of consumers, higher than the global average of 15%. In fact, 63% of Thais name plastic waste in their top five environmental concerns.

Howard Chang, managing director Thailand and Malaysia at Worldpanel Division, Kantar said: “Thai culture is unique in the way that it is centred around the key pillars of caring for others, being kind and merciful. This means that they accept personal responsibility for environmental issues. The research revealed that nearly a third (31%) of Thai consumers believe they themselves are responsible to act. This is significantly higher than the global average of 19%.”

Recognising the problem however is only the start: our study shows that only 12% of Thais are “Eco-Doers”. These people claim to be actively taking plastic reduction actions, for example by using their own fabric bags for shopping or using refillable drinks bottles. The results demonstrate that though consumer sentiment is strong, it has yet to filter into changing grocery shopping habits and product choices. Eco-Doers actually spend more on a range of products that have high levels of plastic packaging.     

Thai people expect a contribution from all parts of society, Kantar’s study shows that 35% of consumers expect manufacturers to take the lead, saying they have the most responsibility to act on this issue.

There have already been some official steps taken to address the issue of plastic waste. This includes the government-led 2018 Plastic Ban Road map and industry-led action including retailers joining together to say “Everyday say no to plastic bags” from 1st January 2020.

Howard Chang continued: “Consumers have high expectations of the business community, but the individual responsibility among Thais is so strong, it is not just a case of ‘you do it for me’. Consumers want companies and the government to provide support to them – the knowledge and infrastructure to make a sustainable contribution themselves.”

The attitude of Thai people to the environment is very positive and their sense of personal responsibility will help them to make their good intentions a reality. There is clearly a strong opportunity for brands and retailers to take the lead in supporting them to achieve this and grow their own businesses at the same time.


Notes to editor:

The data and insights come from a recent study of 1,200 Thai consumers by Kantar.

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Howard Chang
Managing director Thailand and Malaysia

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