Solving the environment is everyone’s problem

The latest Ipsos Omnibus survey reveals that first-hand experience of environmental change brings the issue of climate change into sharp focus.

As concern about the environment continues to rise, 81% of Britons believe that the Government should take partial or full responsibility for reducing the harm we do to the environment. Within this, 1 in 5 believe the Government should take main responsibility while 61% believe it should be split between the Government, Businesses and the public.

Three quarters of the public (75%) are concerned about harm to the environment. This is highest among those that are educated to a degree level (84%).

Nearly 3 in 10 (28%) of Britons say they have been negatively impacted by environmental change*. Of these, almost half have been affected by air pollution (48%), 4 in 10 have been impacted by winds and storms (38%) while a third have been negatively impacted by flooding or threats of flooding (34%). Unsurprisingly, those that have been impacted by environmental change are more concerned (86%) about harm to the environment.  Nevertheless, 67% that have not experienced any consequences feel the same.

Despite these levels of of concern, only a third (33%) of Britons have changed the way they shop in favour of more environmentally friendly products. Those with children are significantly more likely to have made these changes than those without (40% compared to 30% respectively). Similarly, those who have achieved a higher level of education are more likely to have altered their behaviour.

Among those who have bought fewer/stopped buying products because they thought they were environmentally harmful, over 4 in 5 (83%) have taken action in the grocery category.  By comparison, two thirds (66%) said they had bought fewer/stopped buying household products, including cleaners and detergents, while 63% had bought fewer/stopped buying personal care products (toiletries and shampoos, etc.)

Helen Lamb from Ipsos Observer comments:

With recent catastrophic events increasingly highlighting the seriousness of the planet’s environmental situation, this research suggests that the majority of the public is now not only concerned, but some are altering their buying behaviour accordingly. It looks like this is most likely to happen in those areas where information such as airmiles and ease of recycling is explicit. The public understands the part it has to play, but also looks to Government and Business to lead the way.

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Technical note

Research was carried out by Ipsos across two matched samples. Questions were ‘split sampled’ to avoid order bias, so that earlier questions would not impact responses to later ones.  Ipsos surveyed nationally representative quota samples of 979 and 1,026 adults in GB aged 15+.  All interviews were conducted face-to-face in respondents’ homes using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) between 1st and 14th November 2019. Data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions for age within gender, government office region, working status and social grade.
* Respondents selected that they had been personally negatively impacted ‘a great deal’ or a fair ‘amount’.

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