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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Environment arrow Global Consumers Vote Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey And Kofi Annan Most Influential To Champion Global...
Global Consumers Vote Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey And Kofi Annan Most Influential To Champion Global... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Nielsen   
11 Jul 2007

Global Consumers Vote Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey And Kofi Annan Most Influential To Champion Global Warming Cause: Nielsen Survey

Soccer star David Beckham ranks high among HK people - HK people more aware of global warming because of ‘Inconvenient Truth’

Hong Kong, 7th July 2007 --- Former US vice-president and recent environmental celebrity Al Gore has topped the list of most influential people to champion the cause of global warming in a 47-country Internet survey conducted by The Nielsen Company and Oxford University.

Nearly one in five global consumers (18%) picked Al Gore as the most influential spokesperson to champion the global warming debate, ahead of former United Nations head, Kofi Annan (15%),  with Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton tying as third choice (14% each). Ranked fifth with 11 percent of global votes was former South African president, Nelsen Mandela.  A ‘dream ticket’ for climate ambassadors would include Al Gore and Kofi Annan, who polled as first or second choices in the most countries, together covering 34 of the 47 countries in Nielsen’s Internet survey.

“Consumers clearly relate to national identities they admire and are familiar with. Our survey also identified potential spokespeople from actresses to sports stars that would also make effective global warming champions, especially influential among certain age groups,” commented Bienvenido Niles, President, ACNielsen, The Nielsen Company.

“Live Earth - the 24-hour, seven-continent concert series taking place on this Saturday, 7th July - represents an opportunity for a broader group of people to hear about the issue of climate change, and this study was a chance to identify who might be an effective messenger.  The challenge that remains is to determine which messages move people from concern to positive action,” said Timmons Roberts, James Martin Fellow at the University of Oxford.

While Al Gore and Kofi Annan won the overall global vote, there were some notable differences between regions and countries. In Asia Pacific, Kofi Annan (21%) took over Al Gore (13%) as the most influential climate ambassador of the region, and Bill Clinton was named their third choice (12%). Al Gore (21%) was also crowned the most influential climate ambassador among people in Hong Kong, followed by football star David Beckham (18%), Kofi Annan and Bill Clinton (both with 15%).

Moreover, among global respondents under age 25, actress Angelina Jolie (14%) joined Oprah (15%) and Kofi (16%) as the most influential.

Across the border in China, one of the major destinations for the Live Earth concert, people are more fond of the former United Nations head Korfi Annan, while fellow countryman-turned-Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Clinton ranked second (11%). And in Japan, Al Gore again became the most popular choice (26%), followed by a distant second with Kofi (13%) and movie star Leonardo DiCaprio in the third place (8%).

The online Nielsen survey, the largest of its kind to be conducted globally on the topic of consumer attitudes to climate change, was conducted in May 2007 in conjunction with the Environmental Change Institute of Oxford University and polled over 26,000 internet users across 47  countries in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.   

Not surprisingly, nearly half of South Africans chose Nelson Mandela as their top choice to champion the cause of global warming, while twenty-eight percent of Austrians chose fellow countryman-turned-Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has championed climate change legislation. 

In the UK, twenty-three percent of consumers voted British entrepreneur and environmental campaigner Richard Branson as their number one choice. Twenty-three percent of South Africans also voted Richard Branson as their top choice, according to the Nielsen Internet Survey.

The ‘Inconvenient Truth’ Effect
The survey also found that the film, An Inconvenient Truth, had had a significant influence on those that have seen it - in their awareness of the issues and their stated changes in habits and behaviors.

12 percent (one in eight) of global online consumers polled in May this year said they had seen Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. More North Americans (17% - one in six consumers) watched this film than any other global region. In Asia Pacific, 12% of the consumers watched the movie, with China and Hong Kong ranked third (18%) for the most people watched the movie in the world.

In Hong Kong, 78% of the audience said they have changed some habits, and almost all (95%) said the movie made them more aware of the problem. 72% also said their mind has changed about global warming because of the movie. The mainland Chinese consumers are even more receptive to the movie; 92% of the audience has changed their habits, while 96% are more aware of the problem and 83% has changed their mind about global warming.

Sixty-six percent of viewers who claimed to have seen An Inconvenient Truth said the film had “changed their mind” about global warming and eighty-nine percent said watching the movie made them more aware of the problem.  More importantly, three out of four (74%) viewers said they changed some of their habits as a result of seeing the film. It’s glad to know that consumers in the Asia Pacific is the most willing group to change some of their habits because of the movie (83%) and most of them have changed their minds about global warming and climate change after seeing the movie too (81%)!

“When consumers are impacted enough to actually change some of their daily habits as a result of watching a film, it’s the surest sign that the message has gotten through,” said Mr Niles.

“An Inconvenient Truth has pushed Al Gore and the message of concern for climate change up the public agenda, combined with UN scientific reports and the Stern Review as well as increased media coverage over the last months to shift the focus for many people from whether there is a problem to what to do about it,” said Max Boykoff, James Martin Fellow at the University of Oxford.

About The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions and recognized brands in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek), trade shows and the newspaper sector (Scarborough Research). The privately held company has more than 42,000 employees and is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and New York, USA. For more information, please visit,

About Environmental Change Institute:
Environmental Change Institute (ECI) plays a leading role in the UK Government's three main climate research initiatives. ECI hosts the internationally-acclaimed UK Climate Impacts Programme; is a core partner in the national Tyndall Centre for Climate Change; and a lead player in the UK Energy Research Centre. It runs a world-class Masters in Environmental Change & Management with students from all over the world. Oxford University has over 150 climate researchers covering all aspects of climate science, including hosting the world's largest climate computer modelling experiment across 150 countries []

Additional Contacts
Dr Max Boykoff: James Martin Research Fellow, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University.
Office tel. +44 (0) 1865 285 531; Mobile +44 (0) 780 430 166; This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it   

Professor Timmons Roberts; James Martin Visiting Professor, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, and Professor of Sociology, College of William and Mary, USA. Mobile 07726-285-535; This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  

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