British attitudes towards sustainability in 2024: Key insights from YouGov data
May 31st, 2024, Janice Fernandes

British attitudes towards sustainability in 2024: Key insights from YouGov data

As World Environment Day approaches, YouGov data sheds light on British consumer attitudes and behaviours regarding sustainability in 2024. The findings reveal a complex picture, highlighting both a growing commitment to eco-friendly practices and significant challenges that consumers feel need to be addressed.

1. 60% of Britons agree that climate change is the biggest threat to civilisation

This sentiment is particularly strong among Gen Z, with 70% in agreement, followed by Millennials at 63%. The perception of climate change as a critical threat diminishes with age, indicating generational differences in environmental concern.

2. 21% of Britons are willing to invest more in products that favour sustainability

A fifth of Britons (21%), identifying as ‘Planet Protectors’, are willing to spend more on sustainable products, driven by their commitment to environmental health. This segment shows a strong dedication to investing in products that favour sustainability, highlighting a niche but significant market.

3. 17% of Britons value sustainability but are heavily influenced by product pricing

Another 17% of the population, termed the 'Price Point Green' group, values sustainability but is heavily influenced by product pricing. Approximately 76% of consumers perceive eco-friendly products as more expensive, which may explain why sustainable shopping has not yet become mainstream.

4. 22% of Britons are ‘green when keen’

The 'Green When Keen' segment (22%) adopts a more casual approach to eco-consciousness, supporting sustainability when convenient or when it aligns with their lifestyle. This group represents a growing, albeit partial, integration of eco-consciousness into daily life.

5. 28% of Britons are unconcerned about sustainability initiatives

Nearly three in ten Britons, labelled as ‘On the Green Fence’, show little concern for climate change or sustainability initiatives (28%). This group poses a challenge to businesses and policymakers aiming to broaden the appeal of sustainable practices.

6. 42% of British consumers only somewhat trust sustainability logos

Trust in sustainability logos is relatively low among Britons. Only 4% say they completely trust a product’s sustainability logo, the lowest trust level in a 17-market survey along with US at 5%. Moreover, roughly 13% of consumers do not trust these logos at all, highlighting scepticism towards eco-labels.

7. 64% of British consumers are willing to pay up to 10% more for sustainable packaged foods and drinks

Britons are willing to pay more for sustainability, but with some limits. More than half of all consumers say they'd pay up to 10% extra for meats and fresh produce (57%) and 26% are willing to pay up to 25% more.

This willingness to pay a premium extends to other areas as well. Products like sustainable fitness equipment, gaming consoles and cars are not far behind with nearly three in five Britons saying they are willing to pay up to 10% more for these products (59%, 58% and 58% respectively). Interestingly, younger generations seem more open to paying a premium for eco-friendly products.

8. 58% of Britons plan to minimise their household’s food waste

Another 58% plan on utilising reusable bags, containers, and water bottles in the next 12 months. Additionally, 46% of Britons aim to reduce single-use plastic consumption, 39% plan to conserve water, and 33% show a strong interest in choosing sustainable products (23%). Other habits Britons think they will undertake are using public transport or carpooling (28%) and composting organic waste (25%).

Read more about the top eco-conscious habits British households will undertake in 2024

9. Industry efforts in minimising environment impact

Britons generally believe industries are not doing enough to minimise their environmental impact. Only 9% think financial service providers are making sufficient efforts, compared to 45% who disagree. Similar sentiments apply to banks (11% agree vs. 50% disagree) and tech companies (10% vs. 55%). The airline industry faces the most criticism, with 67% saying they are not doing enough to address environmental concerns. However, hospitals and health services are viewed slightly more favourably, with 24% believing they are adequately addressing environmental concerns.

10. Tesla ranks as one of the top automakers in sustainability

Tesla garners recognition with 15% of Planet Protectors and the general population each considering the brand a leader in sustainability. While German powerhouse BMW holds a spot within the top 5 for both demographics, its recognition level as a leader in sustainability is significantly higher among the environmentally conscious group (15% of Planet Protectors vs. 8% of the general population.)

For more detailed insights about which other brands made it to the top five automakers in sustainability, read more here.

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Image: Getty Images