Concern for climate change cause small modification of consumer behaviour

In-home behaviours top list of climate-conscious actions taken more often: recycling/composting, saving energy, saving water and avoiding food waste.


On average, over half (56%) of people say they have modified their consumer behaviour out of concern about climate change over the past few years. This is down from an average of 69%, found in January 2020, when an identical question was asked in all but two of 29 countries.

The proportion of those saying, that over the past few years, they have made changes regarding the products and services they buy or use, specifically out of concern about climate change, has fallen in every country included in both studies. This suggests that, as consumers across the world had to change their daily habits to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, they became less concerned about the environmental impact of their behaviour. On average globally, fewer than one in five (17%) now say they have made a lot of changes, two in five (39%) a few changes, and three in ten (31%) no changes at all.

  • The countries where consumers are most likely to report having adapted their behaviour to counteract climate change remain unchanged from last year. However, even in these nations, the proportion has fallen significantly. They include India (76%, down 12 percentage points), Mexico (74%, -12pts), Chile (73%, -13pts) and China (72%, -13pts).
  • The countries where consumers are least likely to say they have modified their behaviour due to climate concerns include Japan (22%, -9pts), Russia (40%, -12pts), the United States (41%, -15pts) and the Netherlands (41%, -16pts).
  • Countries experiencing the biggest decline since last year in their share of environmentally conscientious consumers include Malaysia (62%, -23pts), Spain (53%, -23pts), Poland (49%, -23pts) and France (52%, -21pts).

Globally, the individual actions most commonly taken to counteract climate change are recycling or composting, generally saving energy at home (43%), avoiding throwing away food (41%) and saving water at home (41%).

Women are generally more likely than men to report changing their behaviour because of climate concerns, especially in terms of avoiding throwing food away (46% vs. 36%, respectively on average across all countries), saving water at home (46% vs. 36%), buying fewer new things (36% vs. 26%) and avoiding products that have a lot of packaging (33% vs. 25%).

Countries where consumers are most likely to report recycling or composting more often than they used to, specifically out of concern about climate change, include Belgium (65%), Canada (64%), and Sweden (60%), Colombia (60%) and Hungary (60%). Inversely, those where consumers are most likely to report having made no changes in how much they recycle or compost include Japan (33%), the United States (32%) and Germany (24%).

To find out whether consumers feel they are more or less engaged in fighting climate change than other people in their community, survey respondents were also asked about changes their neighbours may have made out of concern about climate change. On average globally, three in ten (30%) say their neighbours have made at least some changes, a third (34%) say their neighbours have not made any changes, and nearer two in five (37%) state they are not sure.

Read the article from the WEF

These are the results of a 29-country survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform. Ipsos interviewed a total of 23,055 adults between 24 September – 8 October 2021.

Consumer & Shopper