Whether it’s ditching plastic or going plant based, messages about protecting the environment seem to be reaching more of us than ever before. But are these messages really changing the way we live? We surveyed 1,000 UK adults to find out how green they think they are. The results shine a light on the country’s ever-evolving relationship with the environment.
When it comes to being eco-friendly, it seems most of us feel we fall somewhere in the middle ground. More than four in 10 (44 percent) of survey takers identified as ‘somewhat eco conscious’ and almost four in 10 (37 percent) identified as ‘quite eco conscious’. When it comes to the two ends of the spectrum, the ‘very eco conscious’ won out at 14 percent, while just under 5 percent said they were ‘not at all eco conscious’.
When asked about the influences, 60 percent cited ‘self education and awareness of the climate crisis’ as their number one motivator. A forward-thinking 49 percent reported being influenced by ‘hope for a better future for future generations’, while 45 percent said they’d been moved to action by ‘information on the climate impact from government and institutions’. Over a third (34 percent) of respondents said that guilt plays a part.
Interestingly, it seems people we know and brands have more of an influence than famous people. Three in 10 (30 percent) said they’re influenced by family and friends and 23 percent are swayed by businesses offering eco incentives. However, only 21 percent admit to being affected by influencers and celebrities.
Despite the majority of us wanting to have a positive impact on the planet, it seems old habits die hard and convenience can trump ethics for some. Even though single-use plastic seems to be public enemy number one when it comes to the environment these days, a significant 36 percent of people confessed that they’d purchased products containing single-use plastic (i.e. bottles, bags, ready meals) in the past week. Meanwhile, during the same time frame, 34 percent said they’d thrown away food and almost 28 percent had eaten red meat more than twice.
Despite the fact that more than two million pieces of litter are dropped in the UK every day, only four percent admitted to littering.
We may not get it right all the time but it seems that most of us have good intentions. Half of participants said they ‘try to be as eco friendly as possible but sometimes forget’, while 19 percent reported that they ‘have good intentions but often forget’. A guilt-free 14 percent said they are always eco conscious.
Interestingly, 15 percent said they ‘feel guilty but are not fully willing or able to make lifestyle changes’. Only two percent said they do not care about the environment.
The majority of survey takers (60 percent) said they would call someone they know out if they saw them behave in a way that would be damaging to the environment. However, only 32 percent would call out a stranger.
Carbon offsetting means contributing to a scheme that can help remove the equivalent amount of carbon emitted during an activity of your choice. When asked how likely they were to contribute to such a scheme, 42 percent said they were likely to do this, while 14 percent said they were unlikely to. Sixteen percent said they had never considered offsetting their carbon footprint and 28 percent weren’t sure.
The most popular measure people are willing to make to help towards reducing their carbon footprint is switching to renewable energy. Almost one in three (29 percent) said they would be willing to do this.
When it comes to consumer behaviour, fourteen percent said they would prioritise purchasing from brands that operate on zero-emissions or promise to offset their carbon emissions.
Less than one in 10 (eight percent) said they would be willing to pay a monthly carbon offsetting tax contribution.
A third of survey respondents said they would be motivated to offset their carbon emissions by financial credits. Meanwhile, 12 percent feel they need more proof of environmental damage before opting into a carbon offsetting scheme.
A significant proportion (42 percent) of participants told us they would be willing to pay between £1 and £5 per month towards offsetting their carbon footprint and 17 percent said they would pay between £6 and £10.
When it comes to forking out over a tenner, eight percent said they would pay between £11 and £15 and two percent would pay between £16 and £20.
Three percent would be willing to give over £20.
However, 28 percent of participants told us they would not be willing to pay a monthly donation towards offsetting their carbon footprint.
In the research sample conducted by Viessmann it seems the majority of us consider ourselves eco conscious to one degree or another and while most of us have good intentions, it seems we still have a way to go in terms of changing our behaviour.
Promisingly, most of us are willing to fork out to offset our carbon emissions but it seems some people are still not convinced.