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Reflecting Ireland: An insight into customer behavioural change in Ireland - Sustainability

8 November 2023

Climate change and its impact have been a regular feature on the global news agenda for the best part of a decade. In 2023, the effects of climate change remain a concern for our nation.

But over the last few years, financial and health concerns have dominated our TV and phone screens as well as our airwaves pushing climate change down on the agenda. Over the last two editions of Reflecting Ireland, we had been seeing signs of slowly gaining optimism around our financial outlook, but we are now seeing a very slight dip in sentiment as we head into autumn.

Cost-of-living is by far the most pressing issue for Irish people, with climate change remaining important but somewhat overshadowed. As Irish people struggle with managing their budgets, how will this impact our efforts to buy and behave more sustainably?

Climate change concern

  • 7 in 10 are concerned about climate change. Males have a higher level of concern than their female counterparts and this concern among males has risen significantly since 2021.
  • Across the age groups, younger and older cohorts have higher levels of concern about climate change, with a dip in concern levels seen amongst those between 25-44 years.
  • A quarter say we are on the brink of irreversible climate change with similar numbers saying they are doing all they can to reduce their carbon impact.
  • Increased extreme weather events is the most concerning effect of climate change, particularly for the older age groups.
  • Fossil fuels are considered the largest household contributor to climate change.

Tackling climate change

  • Increasing solar energy is perceived as the primary solution to tackle climate change, followed by increased wind farms and public transport in rural locations.
  • 7 in 10 believe those in power (domestically and abroad) should be doing more. Similar numbers agree that infrastructure for electric cars is lacking.
  • Subsidies, incentives and tax relief are seen as the most beneficial policy responses to help tackle climate change. 8 in 10 agree subsidies should be given for energy-efficient homes.
  • Workplace environmental credentials are important for 2 in 5 of those aged 18-24, suggesting this will be an important differentiator for attracting Gen Z talent into the future.
  • Just over a quarter are willing to pay more taxes to support green initiatives.
  • On average 2 in 5 claim they will pay extra for products and services with green credentials. Food and drink and vehicles are the sectors that the public are most likely to pay for.

Behaviours, actions and challenges to living sustainably

  • 2 in 3 are willing to retrofit their house with assistance, but only 1 in 5 are willing to do the same at their own expense.
  • 2 in 3 believe that their household is already doing all it can to reduce its carbon footprint.
  • Reducing clothing and food purchases as well as buying more locally produced food and drink are considered the easiest sustainable actions to commit to. Reducing fossil fuels for heating and reducing time on electronics are seen as the hardest.
  • One-third say they are likely to buy an electric vehicle over the next three years – mainly driven by environmental reasons. The same number say they are likely to install solar panels. This however is more likely to be driven by perceived cost-savings.

Download the full Reflecting Ireland report.

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