Eco Index Report
How do you solve a crisis like climate change? How do you make an impact, at a national or global level, to improve sustainability and encourage a green lifestyle?
Millennials and Gen Z are significantly more likely than Baby Boomers to believe that for a lot of environmental problems, it’s already too late to make a difference and that one person can’t achieve anything.
The answer is more education, followed by government intervention – according to the public in the US, UK and Canada. Out of a range of 17 statements about the role individuals, brands and governments should play supporting a more sustainable future, the solution with the most support in each country is for more education to encourage greater sustainability. This approach gets the vote from 69% in the US, 73% in the UK and 77% in Canada. Gen X and Baby Boomers are significantly more likely to agree with this statement than Gen Z.
Following on from the inaugural survey, our latest Eco Index – with over 6,000 respondents – explores opinions on environmental issues in the UK, US, and Canada.
After that, all generations agree that their government should do more to encourage the public to go green. In the UK this again increases with age, as Gen X and Baby Boomers are significantly more likely to agree than Millennials and Gen Z. However, in the US, Millennials are significantly more likely to support this approach than Baby Boomers.
Much lower down the list are the sceptical views that meaningful change is impossible, but younger generations are more pessimistic here than others. For example, Millennials and Gen Z are significantly more likely than Baby Boomers to believe that for a lot of environmental problems, it’s already too late to make a difference and that one person can’t achieve anything. Men are significantly more likely to agree with both of these statements than women, but the consequence of such a mentality is that it could lead to passivity and a lack of action.
Ultimately, given only one choice of who should take the lead in encouraging sustainability, the clear verdict is that it should be the government, rather than the public or businesses. In the US, the gap is closer, with 37% advocating for government and 28% for the public. In the other countries, at least half want their government to lead – 50% in Canada and 55% in the UK, with no differences by age and gender.
Businesses come third in this vote, but in the UK in particular, this is a close call. However, while brands are evidently not expected to set the national agenda on encouraging sustainability, because the public expects the government to do it, brands will inevitably still need to prepare for the public to hold them accountable to high green standards.
To learn more about consumer attitudes to sustainability and the impact on their household purchase decisions, click here to download the UK version of our Eco Index 2021 report and here to access the Americas version.