Home News Industry News UK households willing to pay £3,654 more a year for sustainable shopping after lockdown

    UK households willing to pay £3,654 more a year for sustainable shopping after lockdown

    UK households willing to pay £3,654 more a year for sustainable shopping after lockdown
    Essity's survey of 2,000 Brits shows that people appear more environmentally conscious following lockdown

    UK households are willing to spend an average of £3,654.14 more each year on sustainable goods and services if it would help the planet according to a recent survey.

    The online poll was conducted by health company Essity between 10thand 12th June, with results suggesting Brits have become more sustainable during lockdown.

    Equivalent to paying an average of 12% more, the research by Essity – manufacturer of household brands Cushelle, Plenty and Bodyform – reveals how Covid-19 has created a watershed moment for the environment.

    A total of 81% of Brits said that the environment is now more important to them as a result of the pandemic.

    What’s more, half of UK adults say they have become greener since the lockdown came into effect – buying less plastic, recycling more and even spending less time in the shower.

    The study of 2,000 adults found that Brits have also managed to reduce food waste and cut down on the number of single-use items they would typically buy, despite the challenges of lockdown.

    For the majority of those polled, this isn’t a chore, with 54% claimed they get a feeling of joy whenever they do their bit for the planet.

    Daniel Minney, Essity’s regional vice president – UK & ROI, said: “This is a watershed moment for the environment and companies need to react. Consumers are telling us that they have a renewed vigour for greener living, they want to be more sustainable and even that they will spend more to be so.

    “But there are barriers that need to be removed. Confusing terminology, inconsistent infrastructure, and a lack of trust means people aren’t being empowered to live as sustainably as they’d like. By identifying those barriers and working to remove them, we can have a positive impact on people and our environment.”

    A further eight out of 10 people said that they intend to stick to their eco-friendly ways as restrictions are lifted.

    But for many people (51%) sustainability remains a topic of confusion, with Brits struggling to unpick the meaning behind buzzwords like compostable, organic, and biodegradable.

    More than two-fifths said they find the topic of sustainability overwhelming, while 45% believe there is conflicting advice on the best ways to be green – which may hinder progress in the future.

    Other barriers to sustainability cited in the report include a lack of convenient options for recycling and reusing products, with 45% of respondents claiming this would help them to be more sustainable.

    Meanwhile, 34% said there is a need for brands and businesses to be more transparent about the sustainability of their products.

    The role of business was examined in the study, as those polled highlighted a concern that manufacturers are not taking the issue of sustainability seriously enough (35%), and that corporations are ‘attempting to bury the issue’ (26%).

    A total of 64% think large corporations have been too slow to offer a greater range of green products.

    “Businesses have a crucial role to play in looking after the planet. This report has shown us the importance of keeping sustainability simple to enable greater progress,” Mr Minney added. “At Essity, we have a responsibility to play our part, so we’re taking action on what we call ‘the 4 Rs’ – recycle, reuse, reduce and responsible.

    “With insight from this study we hope to rally our employees, customers and the wider industry to build on this positive momentum around sustainability and make it easier for the British public to live more sustainable lives.”

    Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project, supports Essity in sharing this research. He comments: “Essity’s research comes at a very important moment for us all. We are living at a time of which historians will write in future years and the script remains ours to write.

    “It is my fervent hope that we will be judged for our wisdom and desire to rewrite that future into one in which we live in harmony with the natural world. What’s the point of calling ourselves Homo Sapiens if it becomes a cosmic joke at our expense?”

    Environmental activist, and BBC Top 100 Women 2019, Ella Daish observes: “This research reiterates just how important the environment and sustainability are to people, and how willing they are to make a positive difference. It is encouraging that despite our current situation, half of adults have become more sustainable since lockdown began, and that 8 in 10 intend to carry on that behaviour post lockdown.

    “The research highlights key areas where change needs to be made by businesses, to make being sustainable easier for consumers. With overcomplicated recycling information, conflicting news stories and mystifying greenwashing claims made by companies, it is unsurprising that despite being more in-tune with the subject, 51% of consumers find it confusing.

    “We need collective action at all levels to overcome these issues. I hope to see manufacturers, supermarkets and brands reacting and reflecting upon these findings and responding by taking responsibility and committing to make real changes.
    “We need them to show leadership, become transparent and bring sustainability to the forefront by finding solutions to tackle the issues at source.”

    Top 10 – ways people have been greener according to Essity’s survey

    1. Driven less
    2. Cycled or walked more
    3. Reduced my food waste
    4. Recycled more
    5. Used a reusable bag when shopping
    6. Washed out plastic containers and recycling them
    7. Bought fewer items with plastic packaging
    8. Reused products more than I usually would
    9. Washed clothes at 30 degrees
    10. Avoided single use items

    Top 10 – barriers of being greener

    1. Lack of information/transparency about which products are sustainable
    2. Manufacturers not taking it seriously enough
    3. Cost
    4. Lack of information/clarity about how to be sustainable
    5. Local councils not allocating more resources
    6. Lack of availability of sustainable goods/services
    7. Corporations trying to bury the issue
    8. Conflicting news reports and information about what you should and shouldn’t do
    9. Government not investing enough funds
    10. Find it to be too much hassle