Visa reveals Kuwait consumers seek banks help in understanding environmental impact of spending

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Kuwait City, Dec 25: Visa, a world leader in digital payments, released the Kuwait results of their ‘2023 Sustainable Commerce’ study today during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). The study scrutinizes consumer and business behaviors, and the readiness of infrastructure to support sustainable commerce. The survey reinforces the urgency for all industry stakeholders to take decisive collective action to promote sustainability through responsible innovation for the benefit of consumers, businesses and the economy.

Key Findings for Kuwait:
Consumers are aware and doing something about sustainability:
Over two-thirds of Kuwaiti consumers believe that decarbonization is not limited to corporate entities, and individuals can make a difference. More importantly, in Kuwait, survey respondents view rising cost of living (40%) as a leading societal challenge, followed by climate change (34%), and plastic pollution (32%).
In terms of environmental practices, Kuwait consumers are focused on reducing paper usage (84%), walking and cycling to reduce emission (72%), and reducing single-use plastics with a rate of 57%.
Kuwait shows robust support for donating to causes supporting elimination of poverty (50%), and repurposing and sharing products within the community at 56%.

Future bank customers: making sustainable choices:
A significant 71% of individuals have expressed their willingness to recommend banks that provide sustainable payment options. Almost half (49%) of consumers stated that they chose a bank with strong green credentials. Moreover, 31% expect their banks to guide them in making sustainable financial choices.
Interestingly, 32% of consumers also look to their banks to help them understand the environmental impact of their purchases.

Sustainability among the next generation:
In Kuwait, parents of young consumers (8-18 years old) noted that their children demonstrate a heightened receptiveness to sustainable practices and a greater environmental consciousness. Their adopted habits include walking or cycling to places (26%), creating awareness about climate change (25%) opting for electric vehicles/ public transport (22%) and washing dishes or laundry with cold water (21%).
The primary influencers driving sustainability habits among the youth include social media (65%), family members encouraging sustainable behaviors and traditional media (34%), and government policies (31%).

Sustainable benefit becomes a feature attraction: the key to becoming a primary card
Rewards for sustainable behaviors are a significant attraction, with 42% of consumers willing to make such a card their primary one.
Sustainability evaluations of bank providers are still mainly focused on known initiatives like reducing paper and byproduct usage.
Factors considered while evaluating a bank provider on sustainability include having environmentally conscious operations (41%) and going paperless (37%).

Barriers to sustainability
A significant barrier for the majority of Kuwaiti consumers (49%) lies in lack of awareness followed by customers not having information about sustainable products and services and difficulty in changing habits (35%).
As societal consciousness regarding social and environmental issues expands, the study indicates a rising preference among consumers for businesses that actively demonstrate sustainable practices.

Businesses and Sustainability
Qualitative interviews revealed that MSMEs and KOLs have a fair understanding of sustainability but lack a holistic and contextual comprehension of the concept. This gap is influenced by several barriers, including cost implications for both businesses and consumers, fear and resistance to change, pressures from competition and profitability, and resource constraints. However, there are also enablers that can foster sustainability. These encompass regulatory policies and frameworks that create the right ecosystem, sustainable financing that provides a ‘push’ effect, and the necessity for collaboration among stakeholders to drive sustainability. Visionaries, typically medium-sized businesses, grapple with significant pressure from global partners to adopt sustainability standards. However, they are often hindered by a lack of technical knowledge.

Shashank Singh, Visa’s General Manager for Kuwait and Qatar, said: “Visa is stepping up to help our partners guide their consumers towards more eco-friendly decisions. With over a third of consumers in Kuwait seeking such guidance from their banks, Visa is offering insights into the environmental impact of their purchases. With billions of cards and millions of merchant partners worldwide, Visa is uniquely positioned to foster environmentally responsible consumption patterns, promote sustainable transport, and empower individuals, communities, and countries in their transition to a net-zero economy.”

Visa is committed to facilitating sustainable commerce and contributing to the transition to a net-zero economy. Visa leverages digital payments to promote environmentally responsible consumption, sustainable transport, and Electric Vehicle adoption, while also reducing its own environmental footprint with a goal of net-zero emissions by 2040. In GCC, Visa recently launched the Eco Benefits Bundle, a groundbreaking climate banking platform in collaboration with ecolytiq and Mashreq in the UAE, and with QIB in Qatar. This innovative solution integrates eco-friendly features into card payments, enabling users to track their environmental impact and contribute to carbon offset initiatives.

Conducted by 4Sight Analytics in Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, the ‘2023 Sustainable Commerce’ surveyed 416 consumers in Kuwait and interviewed business owners and key opinion leaders (KOLs) in August-September 2023. The study was designed to gather opinions and engage in meaningful discussions with a diverse range of participants.

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