Thursday 15 July 2021 10:56 am

Exclusive: Consumers most worried about climate change despite government pledges

Despite the recent mountain of pledges from governments and businesses, consumers have identified climate change as the issue about which they are least optimistic, City A.M. can reveal.

A new sustainability survey from Public First and Brodie shows that in the UK, “climate anxiety” is at the top of customers concerns, with a net optimism score of -33 per cent.

In the US, it comes second only to political divisions, with a score of -17 per cent.

Scarcely a week goes by at the moment without a new climate plan or pledge, but consumers are currently unconvinced by the rhetoric.

Critics of such plans say that while the ambitions are laudable, they frequently elide critical detail as to how to achieve goals such as hitting net zero by 2050.

Despite this, survey respondents said that governments are most responsible for addressing the majority of environmental issues, including improving biodiversity and nature, contributing to climate change, and enhancing animal welfare.

One key exception, where consumers felt overwhelmingly that businesses should be held most responsible for an environmental issue, was ensuring responsible sourcing of materials.

To carry out the survey Public First and Brodie interviewed 2,000 consumers in the UK, and another 2,000 in the US in April and May. They then conducted 12 focus groups.

The data comes a day after the EU laid out its most expansive plant to cut carbon emissions so far, and the UK put forward proposals for the complete decarbonisation of its transport sector.