Diet and climate change

Chatham House commissioned Ipsos MORI to carry out a survey in 12 countries to investigate attitudes to meat and dairy consumption in regards to climate change.

Chatham House commissioned Ipsos MORI to carry out a survey in 12 countries to investigate attitudes to meat and dairy consumption in regards to climate change.

The findings are part of a Chatham House project which seeks to assess public understanding and behaviour in relation to diet and climate change.

Among the key findings:

  • Awareness of the contribution of meat and dairy to anthropogenic climate change is very low compared to awareness of the role of other activities. In particular, fewer than half the number of those who identified transport emissions as a major contributor identified meat and dairy (29% vs 64%) despite the fact that climate change impact from the two sources are comparable.
  • Participants were asked how likely, or not, they would be to make certain changes within the next year in order to limit their own contribution to climate change. Dietary changes are at the bottom of their priorities in terms of limiting personal contribution to climate change. Participants are more likely to state that they would eat less meat (38%) than to state that they would to consume less dairy (33%).
  • Those who do not eat meat (63%) or those looking to decrease their meat consumption (63%) are more likely than satisfied meat consumers (52%) or those looking to increase their meat consumption (53%) to strongly agree that human activities contribute to climate change.

Technical notes:

The current survey has been conducted in 12 countries in total: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, South Africa, UK and USA via a mixture between Ipsos internal online panels and external suppliers, as follows:

  • The surveys in Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, UK and US were conducted via Ipsos Interactive Services online panel
  • The surveys in China, India, Japan and South Africa were conducted via external suppliers
  • We surveyed just over 1,000 adults in each country between 26 September and 10 October (see below). The age range of the sample surveyed in each nation varied depending on levels of internet penetration.
  • The use of online panellists means that in some cases the participants are likely to be representative of more affluent, connected populations. Data has, though, been weighted to the known national populations. The data has been weighted by age and gender in all countries; in addition to these, it has also been weighted by region in Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia UK and USA.
  • At the aggregate level each country has been given equal weight regardless of population size relative to others – meaning that Russia’s 1,000 responses count for the same as Poland’s 1,000 despite its population being considerably larger.
  • As with all surveys, our findings are estimates, and subject to sampling tolerances.
  • The survey questions were asked in English in India, South Africa, UK and USA – slight linguistic adaptations were made to each country. The survey questions were translated from English into the main languages used in non-English speaking countries – all translations were verified by an independent translation agency.

For the purposes of analysis, we have grouped countries into categories, as follows:

  • BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India, China
  • EU: France, Germany, Italy, Poland, UK

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