72 percent of PHL consumers believe firms should prioritize environment over profits

A new report published by Sandpiper reveals that 72% of consumers in the Philippines believe that companies should be prioritising environmental protection over profits, with 35% believing governments should do the same.

Sandpiper’s 2022 Consumer Expectations Index for Asia Pacific looks at the expectations consumers have of public and private sector organisations and their leaders around sustainability issues. It is based on a survey of 6,000 consumers across 11 markets in the region.

Consumers See Themselves as Part of the Solution and the Problem

Consumers in the Philippines ranked government (92%) as being the most responsible for solving sustainability issues, with publicly listed companies (87%) ranked second, ahead of consumers themselves (85%) and media (77%).

This was also reflected in responses around which individuals have the most power in relation to sustainability issues with 84% ranking Heads of State as being the most powerful, followed by Government Ministers at 5%, Consumers themselves at 4%, and Scientists at 3%.

However, while consumers in Philippine believe governments are making the strongest contribution to environmental sustainability, they see public companies as the greatest underperformers. Over one in five (21%) of Filipinos also believe consumers themselves are contributing to environmental sustainability.

Climate Change No Longer a Debate

The research reveals that an overwhelming 99% of consumers in Philippine believe climate change is a reality, with just (1%) saying otherwise. This is despite only 60% of consumers saying they have a strong understanding of climate change.

When asked about their feelings around climate change, the top emotions Filipino consumers feel are concern (55%), frustration (17%), guilt (15%), with a further 10% saying they are satisfied the problem is being managed, while 4% are indifferent.

Selected Sectors and Issues in the Spotlight

People in the Philippines are the most concerned about climate change among all markets, with 56% saying they are worried this problem will develop in the future. In addition, 60% are concerned about poverty and 52% are concerned about ocean pollution.

Looking specifically at sectors, more than 1 in 10 consumers see five sectors as irresponsible or noncompliant when it comes to regulation, the worst performing sectors are: mining (17%), NGOs (12%) and government and public service (10%).

Language Matters

While 93% of consumers surveyed in the Philippines say they have at least an average understanding of what sustainability means, only 54% have a strong understanding of it. Fewer also have an average level of understanding of more technical terms including Corporate Social Responsibility

(CSR) at 78%, Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) at 76% – showing that talking to consumers about these issues in everyday, non-technical language is important.

While the underlying issues that are sought to be addressed by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are of wide concern, only 47% of consumers in the Philippines have heard of them.

Emma Smith, CEO, Sandpiper said: “As global sustainability challenges continue to grow, we see increasing expectations on all organisations and individuals to act. While governments are shouldering the weight of solving sustainability challenges, increasingly consumers see both private companies and themselves as critical to solutions and they have a growing appetite to learn more and be involved. While understanding of more technical areas of sustainability remains low, organisations should be preparing for consumer knowledge and scrutiny to increase in the coming years as interest grows across every age group and demographic.”


For this study Sandpiper conducted an online survey with 6,000 consumers from 11 Asia Pacific markets. Depending on population size and complexity, a sample size of between 500 and 1,000 respondents was surveyed to provide statistically significant findings which can be extrapolated to the general population. In addition, age and gender quotas were set based on their respective proportion of the population.