Environment and sustainability and the behavioural changes consumers are making as a result

By Eden McCallum

In Glasgow, the UN’s COP26 conference continues. But how are consumers responding now to the reality of climate change and what it might mean for their (sustainable) purchasing decisions?

To answer this question, Eden McCallum commissioned the second of its consumer surveys to test attitudes in both the UK and the Netherlands. A survey of around 1,000 consumers in each country found that concern about the environment is running high, even if individual actions in response to that vary.

One headline finding was clear: around 90% of people in both countries are concerned about the environment, with no great variation in that response across different age groups.

Which entities do consumers regard as having the biggest impact on the environment? While government is still seen as the most powerful actor in terms of its influence on the environment – in the UK 44% believe that government is very important – other players are seen as being almost as important. The survey found that companies are regarded as very important by 39% of UK respondents, global agencies by 36% and individuals according to 32%. In the Netherlands, companies and the government are seen as equally significant actors (32% see them as very important).

People in both countries believe that their individual actions have an important impact on the environment, not far behind those of governments, companies and global agencies. On a personal level, it is activities and behaviour at home that are seen as having the greatest impact on the environment. There is some degree of misalignment, however, between the actions consumers are taking and the efforts that will have the most impact on emissions.

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