Insight & Research

April 21, 2021

Covid accelerates consumers’ civic conscience

Contact
  • 57% of Brits think Covid-19 has slowed us down in tackling climate change
  • 72% agree that climate change is an urgent issue (vs 71% in 2020)
  • 64% are concerned or very concerned about the widening gap between the rich and poor (vs 59% in 2020)
  • 40% say that it is important or very important to them to give to charitable causes (vs 36% in 2020)
  • 70% agree or agree strongly that while it’s important to tackle climate change, there are many other issues in the world too (vs 65% in 2020)
  • 55% are concerned or very concerned that economic recovery from Covid will mean we don’t put enough focus on climate change

21st April 2021 – 57% of Brits think that Covid-19 has slowed us down in tackling climate change, while 55% are concerned that economic recovery from Covid will mean we don’t put enough focus on climate change, according to a survey of the British public conducted by Instinctif Partners’ insight and research business, Truth.

This was the second consecutive year the survey was run and asked more than 2,000 members of the UK population how worried they were about the environment, who should be taking action on the climate emergency, what they had personally done to change behaviours, and what was hampering their efforts to do so. Respondents were also asked how the pandemic has shaped how people feel about the pace of change that they see – and believe we need to see – on climate change.

Remaining the same as last year, nearly three-quarters (72%) of people think that climate change is an urgent issue and are concerned about a range of anticipated effects of climate change. Whilst 64% feel that the world is getting worse at the moment (vs 59% last time) especially economic instability (71% concerned or very concerned, vs 62% last time), mental wellbeing was also a major concern for people (68% concerned or very concerned, vs 61% last time).

Louise McLaren, Partner at Truth, who led the research, said: “It is important not to assume that people have less appetite for hearing about climate change than they did pre-Covid and that social-related messages must be prioritised instead.  Climate concern remains.  But it also critical to recognise that climate concern sits in a more complex context today with people worrying about economic stability. A positive that has emerged in the last year as a result of Covid is an increase in community responsibility and engagement, which triggers thinking around how climate action can be made more real at a local level.”

She added: “Covid seems to have increased people’s sense of vulnerability to climate change overall – while some potential areas of impact retain their perceived risk, others have increased.  And the mental health consequences of climate concern in an already more mentally fragile population a result of Covid could be significant over time.”

In spite of the emphasis on Covid-19 in news cycles in the past year, people do seem to be picking up signals that the Government and companies are taking climate change more seriously than they were at the end of 2019. Nearly a third (30%) feel confident that the Government is taking sufficient steps to tackle climate change (up from 24% in 2020).

24% feel confident that companies are taking sufficient steps to tackle climate change (vs 17% in 2020) and importantly, 23% trust what companies tell them about their actions to tackle climate change (vs 17% in 2020).

Nearly two-thirds of people (61%) want to make more sustainable choices but sometimes find it hard to know what to do. Perhaps unsurprisingly, nearly half (45%) say they don’t have time to research how sustainable their purchases truly are – this is consistent with last year’s data.

Amidst all the challenges of the past year however, people are drawing confidence in how quickly we’ve adapted our ways of living to Covid, helping them to see that it is possible to make substantial shifts to help address the climate situation.

57% agree or agree strongly that they feel positive that Covid has shown us we can live more sustainably (for example, by flying less).

Louise McLaren continued: “While trust in what companies communicate appears to be less of a barrier this year and aligns with higher levels of trust in companies related to climate action overall, being time poor to make more sustainable choices has significantly increased as a barrier.”

The results of the survey were presented and discussed today at Instinctif’s webinar, Climate Change and Covid: Implications for Business & Brands in a Turbulent World.

To find out more about Instinctif Partners and Truth’s sustainability offering, please visit https://responsibility.instinctif.com/

Search