Two thirds of UK adults are concerned about the outlook for the environment, Accenture shows

Ahead of Earth Day, Accenture has analysed consumers’ attitudes to spending two years on from the start of Covid. In its study of over 2,000 UK adults it found that two thirds of UK adults (64%) said they are concerned about the outlook for the environment – more than other issues including their own financial situation (54%) or their health (40%) or the health of others (47%).  

What’s more, a third of adults (31%) said that compared to two years ago, they were more likely to shop in line with their personal values and ethics, and had greater expectations of brands and retailers to report on the impact of the business activities upon the environment. Only 9% of people in the UK agree with both statements. 53% agreed with at least one of these statements.

Other key findings include:

Two-thirds of people (63%) in the UK are increasingly buying either second-hand, recycled, refurbished reusable products, or are upcycling existing items more than they were two years ago. This figure was higher amongst people facing budget pressures (67% vs. 56%)

Nearly 4 in 10 (38%) said that they were regifting or taking more items to charity shops than before the pandemic.

According to respondents, food and grocery retailers are making it easier than any other sector to understand which products are the most sustainable (62% agree). This was compared to takeaway food brands which ranked lowest, where over 4 in 10 (43%) felt they made it difficult

A sustainable icon on the product image (e.g. a recycling sign) was the preferred method for respondents when trying to determine which products and services are the most sustainable when shopping online (42%).  When shopping in store, a product label (e.g. text information) was most preferred (37%)

Commenting on the findings,  Oliver Grange, consumer goods strategy & consulting lead for Accenture in the UK & Ireland, said: “Two years on from the start of Covid-19 and six months on from COP26, it is clear that consumers are becoming more mindful of how they shop. Our research shows that, not only do brands have a responsibility to enable customers to consume more sustainably, there is a significant commercial opportunity for those that do so. Consumers are increasingly expecting their values to be reflected back to them when making purchasing decisions, though this must be done authentically. Brands must ensure they embed sustainability considerations into their growth plans whilst providing clear, transparent information on the environmental impact of products to show they’re truly committed to a sustainable future.”