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One in three people say that their employer is not doing enough to tackle climate change – Deloitte Ireland

Many believe that their employer should be doing more to reduce energy and water use

15 June 2022. New Sustainability research by Deloitte Ireland has found that one in three people agree or strongly agree that their employer is not doing enough to address climate change, while one-in-five believe their employer should be doing more to reduce energy use and reduce waste or water use - and factor sustainability into the products or services it provides.

As part of Deloitte’s Global State of Consumer Tracker research (23 countries, over 20,000 respondents including 1,000 Irish consumers), which tracks consumer attitudes towards personal well-being and financial concerns, a specific set of questions on sustainability and climate action were included. The data was gathered between 24 and 30 March 2022.

Deloitte Ireland Sustainability Lead and Risk Advisory Partner, Laura Wadding, said the results showed that the public is increasingly more conscious, and active, when it comes to climate change:

“What this tracker shows us is that employees are both expecting, and demanding, more from their employers in terms of climate action measures within their businesses. It is also clear that young people are anxious about the effects that climate change will have on their futures, with just over half of those aged 18-34 surveyed, saying that they had become more anxious or worried about the issue in the last month alone.

“The cost of sustainably priced goods and services is still proving a deterrent for some, with almost 40% of those who purchased such a product or service recently, believing they paid significantly more than that of an alternative. Of those who didn’t purchase a sustainable good in recent weeks, this was because it costs too much. One in five said it is not a priority.

“Given the impact of inflation on people’s pockets – and the significant squeeze on spending due to the rising cost of energy, fuel and food – it is clear that value is a priority right now in some cases – ahead of sustainability as a principle,” Wadding said.

Workplace advocacy

More than one in four (27%) of those surveyed, aged 18-34, have spoken to a manager or supervisor about sustainable practices at work in the last six months. Meanwhile, 15% of individuals have considered switching jobs to work for a more sustainable company, or a company with less significant impact on the environment.

“Businesses are best placed to lead the response on climate action. We have the resources, skills and influence to build more sustainable communities. Deloitte’s Sustainability & Climate practice is focused on doing just that by supporting organisations facilitate change in their practices and drive cross-sector collaboration to build a better future,” Wadding concluded. 

Citizen action

Two thirds of those surveyed in the tracker (67%) believe the Government should do more to fight climate change and almost half (49%), are more likely to vote for a candidate that supports actions to address climate change.

A majority (54%) have talked with a family or friend about personal environmental choices such as eating less meat, composting/recycling, or using greener travel options within the last six months. However, two thirds of people said they’ve never communicated with public representatives about environmental issues.

Personal choices

Over three quarters (76%) of people strongly, or somewhat, believe that climate change is an emergency while 83% believe, or strongly believe, that human activities are causing climate change.

Almost half of those surveyed (49%) often or always/whenever possible limit their water use (e.g. shorter showers) Three in 10 said they sometimes eat less meat, while a quarter of respondents said they never eat meat.

Nearly have of those who participated in the survey (47%) said they never, rarely, or only sometimes power their home with renewable energy, as it is too expensive to do so.

Over half of individuals (52%) said it is too expensive to buy local products - particularly those aged 18-34 (53%) - with 21% saying its inconvenient, difficult or time-consuming.

Almost three in 10 (29%) of those aged 18-34 often use lower-emission transportation (e.g. cycling, walking, public transit), while 17% of people said they never use lower emission transport.

To read more about our Global Sustainable Actions Index, see Deloitte Insights