Figures released by market research company Savanta reveal the UK’s approach to sustainability and climate change is being ‘re-shaped’ by the cost of living crisis, with CO2 reduction a mere by-product of the need to keep household bills down.
Savanta’s report – Sustainability Segmentation 2022 – canvassed more than 5,000 UK adults. It found that 30% believe ‘using less energy at home’ is among the top three actions which people should take to reduce their personal carbon footprint. This was followed by recycling correctly (29%), reducing food waste (26%) and driving an elective vehicle (17%).
“Many UK consumers appear prepared to invest more to keep their energy bills down – a by-product of which would be to reduce CO2 emissions,” states the study. While two thirds (66%) have already installed energy-saving lightbulbs, other measures are catching up, including adding cavity wall or loft insulation (34%) and replacing white goods with more energy-efficient models (30%). Almost half (46%) would consider paying for triple glazing, 44% would opt for solar panels and 37% would be open to switching their gas boiler for an air or ground source heat pump.
While the need to reduce domestic energy bills may be the driver, the outcome will be a net reduction in domestic CO2 emissions
Dr Nick Baker, chief research officer at Savanta, believes this behavioural change ‘has little to do with eco-thinking or Government education programmes’. “Insulation, heat pumps and solar panels may be at the top of the UK’s agenda this winter … [but] the sharply-rising cost of energy is forcing people to accelerate carbon cutting out of necessity, rather than virtue.
“Consumers are looking at ways they can save money on the back of the cost of living crisis. While the need to reduce domestic energy bills may be the driver, the outcome will be a net reduction in domestic CO2 emissions.”
Another finding of the report was a lack of trust in the Government to deliver on climate targets: 25% ‘don’t trust those in authority to do what’s right in general when it comes to sustainability’; and just 17% say they have ‘confidence in our ability to find solutions to the biggest problems currently facing the world’.