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The public’s wish list for an eco-economic recovery

Nick Baker Chief Research Officer 03/02/2022

The public expects their government to take the lead on a sustainable economic recovery from the pandemic, by adopting the stick first and the carrot second approach.

When presented with a list of six types of potential government action, the top three recommendations from the public are the same in each country, two policies of punishment or containment, followed by one of reward, to increase the uptake of electric vehicles.

The majority want to see stronger penalties for large industrial polluters – 51% in the US, 56% in the UK and 62% in Canada. Baby Boomers are significantly more likely to demand this than the other generations.

Creating more green space is the top initiative in the UK and Canada, third in the US – it is also a key focus in particular for women, who are significantly more likely than men in the US, UK and Canada to put this initiative in their top two.

These three recommendations broadly match leaders’ green agendas.

It was announced earlier this year that US president Joe Biden and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau were working on joint environmental plans to penalise countries with poor pollution records. Trudeau has also advocated that the two countries collaborate more closely on electric vehicle production.

In the UK, the government plans to increase current investment by giving £582m in grants to drivers buying electric or low emission vehicles11.

That’s all at a national level, but the public in each country also agrees on what the agenda should look like at a local level.

When presented with a choice of eight potential initiatives for the town or city they live in, the top three in popularity are the same, albeit in a different order for the US, with only 1% difference between all three ideas in the UK and Canada:

• Encouraging policies that cut waste

• Creating more green space

• Generating electricity using renewable resources

Creating more green space is the top initiative in the UK and Canada, third in the US – it is also a key focus in particular for women, who are significantly more likely than men in the US, UK and Canada to put this initiative in their top two.

Aside from what governments and the public need to do, respondents also see several ways in which brands can support a green recovery from Covid-19.

The most popular ideas for sustainability initiatives which brands, rather than governments, can lead on and which have a majority

support in each country, are:

• Lower rates for insurance products with an ethical heritage

• Clothing clearly labelled with heritage

• An energy monitoring device that builds up a profile of your habits and performs them automatically on your behalf

While these examples may appear initially to be quite sector-specific, these are themes that can be applied to most industries. The key message from the first two initiatives here is to clearly show how products have been produced for those who want to know their heritage.

The third idea, speaks to consumers’ desire to save energy and by default money, via greater efficiency through the use of smarter technology.

In essence, consumers are looking for transparency, as well as environmental efficiency and cost savings from their favourite brands.

To read the full report, click here.

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