Why climate change awareness is successfully changing consumer habits

Climate change dominated the news agenda throughout 2019 and recent YouGov research has revealed that three out of five (61%) Brits now believe that climate change is the biggest threat to civilisation, driving change in their consumer habits. 

The public highlighting of the potential devastation caused by leading an unsustainable lifestyle has seen a surge of consumers taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. 

This has had a substantial impact on businesses across all sectors – from food and drink through to aerospace and travel. 

As part of its Environmental Innovations campaign, leading professional services business MPA has conducted research through YouGov Profiles to understand how modern lifestyles are changing and identify the businesses at the forefront of innovative thinking who are meeting public demand for more ‘green’ options.   

The research found that nearly half (49%) of Brits try to buy only from companies who are socially and environmentally responsible. A further quarter (25%) of consumers say they only buy products from companies that have ethics and values they agree with. 

By contrast, 45% of those surveyed agree that big companies are trying to improve their impact on the environment, while one in five (21%) don’t believe that ‘sustainable’ practices in retail and production make little to no difference to the environment. 

And, although the research revealed that the majority of Brits are making more conscious decisions when it comes to their lifestyle choices, 29% think people worry too much about the environment.

With single-use plastic highlighted as a key factor for the overwhelming amount of pollution in the oceans, the materials and packaging industry has seen arguably the biggest overhaul over the last year, with plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds all set to be banned in April as part of a new government initiative. 

The research found that four out of five (83%) approved of the ban, with just 17% contesting that the plastic pledge won’t make a difference to the amount of waste produced. With such overwhelming support behind efforts to become a more sustainable society, it is no surprise that many large businesses are making changes to implement this. 

Supermarket giant Morrisons recently became the first supermarket to remove black plastic from all of its own-brand food and drink packaging, as part of wider ambitions to make all its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. 

As well as changing shopping habits, our eating habits have also shifted dramatically during the last few years. 

And, with scientists citing avoiding meat and dairy as ‘the biggest way to reduce your environmental impact’, research found that 1 in 20 (5%) are ‘likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ to become fully vegan within the next 12 months. 

Stuart Bentley, Delivery Manager at MPA, said:

“Our Environmental Innovations campaign has highlighted just how much the business landscape has changed over recent years, and just how many businesses have completely changed their models to keep up with consumer demand. 

“The UK is a hub of innovation, so it is great to see that so many businesses across the country are taking the lead in industry changes and offering customers the option to live a more sustainable lifestyle.” 

To find out more about the most innovative businesses across the food and drink, packaging, travel and motoring industries, visit: https://mpa.co.uk/environmental-innovations/