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April, 2024

Australians trust climate experts over politicians and influencers, Ogilvy PR study reveals

Ogilvy PR has unveiled the findings of its latest Believability Index, and while the majority of Australians are placing their trust in climate experts, more than one in five have doubts that any group is believable when it comes to clean energy communications.

The study, which examines the credibility of organisations, spokespeople, and messaging in relation to clean energy communications, revealed that 56% per cent of Australians rated climate experts as the most believable, followed by established climate groups (38%) and climate-related industry groups (37%).

Local community groups were selected by only 14% of respondents, ahead of local councils (10%), journalists (9%), national business leaders (8%), local business leaders (7%), social media influencers (6%), and politicians (5%). 22% or approximately 4.4 million people) expressed that they do not find any particular group believable on this topic.

The study also highlighted Australians’ preference for information supported by science (71%), hard and proven facts (58%), and credible sources (52%). This aligns with the high trust placed in climate experts and suggests a strong demand for accurate, science-backed information in clean energy communications.

There was a significant level of concern among Australians about how renewable energy projects are communicated on the path to net-zero. A substantial 86% of Australians expressed concern about this issue, indicating a potential vulnerability to disinformation and division within the community.

“The results of this year’s Believability Index clearly show that the voices of experts, backed by science, are the most believable in this important conversation. This presents a great opportunity to make these trusted voices more prominent in communicating clean energy issues. It’s encouraging to know that accurate information based on scientific facts still matter to most people,” said Ogilvy Chief Counsel and Sustainability Practice lead, Nino Tesoriero.

Tesoriero highlighted the need for science-backed experts to take a more active role in the conversation. “The results show that the renewable energy transition is vulnerable to disinformation, community concern and division unless science-backed experts step up and get louder. We need these experts to speak openly, honestly and regularly about energy transition and what it means for specific communities.”

The Believability Index research is based on the responses of 1,036 Australians aged 18 and over, surveyed online by YouGov between 4-6 March 2024. Ogilvy PR is a global creative communications agency that partners with brands and organisations to drive value and growth.