Winning Combos

What combos of government policies — socio-economic as well as environmental — would galvanize Canadian support for transformative action on climate change and biodiversity loss? And what aspects of these policy bundles can advocates and activists amplify to garner much greater support for serious solutions?

Answers to these questions were at the heart of an ambitious wave of quantitative and qualitative research commissioned by EcoAnalytics in 2021 that drilled deep into Canadian perceptions of their own knowledge of, and beliefs about the efficacy of, a variety of solutions to our greatest environmental challenges. The quantitative part of the study was conducted through a 15-minute online survey with a sample of nearly 2,300 Canadians. The qualitative data were gathered through an online discussion board with 31 individuals, each of whom took part in a wide-ranging, 2-hour “customer journey”. 

 Key findings included that Canadians of all  political leanings are uncertain about Canada’s ability to find effective solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss before it is too late. Few feel confident in their level of knowledge of the solutions; however, clear preference for some potential solutions, based on perceived efficacy, did emerge.

The mixed-mode research found that people’s preferences for  five potential solutions — Energy Transition, Nature Based Solutions, Carbon Capture, Just Transition and Accountability — we determined by concerns and perceptions around efficacy, cost, plausibility and fairness. The images shown in this article reveal the frequency of specific sentiments expressed about three of the solutions:   

These perceptions were also unpacked through a ‘customer journey’ discussion to understand more about how respondents’ levels of enthusiasm evolved as they talked through the need, cost implications, implementation and finally, effect of each solution.

The final survey in the wave of research included an innovative “conjoint analysis”, which looked deeply into preferences for policies that could be combined to address climate change and biodiversity loss. This revealed strong support, among supporters of all three of Canada’s main federal political parties, for policy combinations that focus on transitioning workers out of oil and gas workers, protecting forest, freshwater sources and oceans as carbon sinks, and protecting 50% of Canada’s landmass.

The detailed findings of these studies were shared in a series of reports with Members and Subscribers, along with recommendations for stronger communications. Each was accompanied by an analytical webinar presented by the research team, in which Members had time for questions and detailed discussion.