Skip to main content
High angle shot of a young woman unpacking her groceries in the kitchen at home

What consumers need in order to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle

Sustainable Consumer 2023

Affordability remains the number one barrier to the adoption of a more sustainable lifestyle.

• 62% of those that did not adopt behaviours to lead a more sustainable lifestyle claimed it is because it is too expensive. • 58% of the same group blame a lack of interest in sustainability. • 50% of the same group do not have enough information.

Consumers want businesses and institutions to take the lead in supporting them in their adoption of more environmentally sustainable habits.

• 53% would welcome better schemes to remove plastic and packaging. • 46% want clearer guidance on disposal and recycling. • 35% want more regulations requiring companies to improve options for consumers. • 31% also expect more government intervention to make low-emission modes of transport more affordable.

Overall, more than half of consumers stated that the commitment of businesses to climate change and sustainability can influence their trust in them.

• 34% stated that their trust in brands would be improved if they were recognised as an ethical/sustainable provider by an independent third party. • 32% claimed that their trust in brands would be improved if they had a transparent, accountable, and socially and environmentally responsible supply chain. • 27% of consumers said that their trust in brands would be improved if brands target 'Net-Zero' by reducing carbon emissions rather than relying on carbon offsetting.

 

Barriers to sustainability

 

Affordability remains the number one barrier to the adoption of a more sustainable lifestyle.

 

While the main reasons for not adopting a more sustainable lifestyle remain the same as in 2022, a higher proportion of consumers mentioned them. These relate to cost (62%), a lack of interest in sustainability (58%), and not having enough information (50%). Consumers also believe that adopting a more sustainable lifestyle makes no difference, or that it is too difficult or not available to them.

These findings point to the importance of offering better affordability and availability of sustainable options and giving consumers greater access to information about sustainability.

 

Reasons why consumers have not adopted a more sustainable lifestyle in the past 12 months
 

Which, if any, of the following describe why you haven't done this?
(% who selected at least once 'I have not done the following action' in the past 12 months in an effort to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle)

 

What would help?

 

Given that the main barrier to becoming more sustainable is cost, it is not surprising that making sustainable alternatives more affordable is the issue cited by more than one in two consumers (56%) as the main area to address.

 

In addition, most consumers would welcome better schemes to remove plastic and packaging (53%) and clearer guidance on disposal and recycling (46%). A third of consumers also expect more government intervention to make low-emission modes of transport more affordable, and to provide better access to public electric vehicle charging points. The same proportion wants more regulations requiring companies to improve options for consumers.

 

What do consumers need to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle?
 

Which, if any, of the following do you think would help you to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle?

 

Building trust

 

Consumers are generally receptive to actions that businesses take to substantiate their climate credentials, with over half of consumers (57%) stating that their trust in brands and the commitment of businesses to climate change and sustainability can be influenced by at least one of eight ‘trust builders’.

 

The key ‘trust builders’ that businesses should focus on are independent accreditation, transparency across their supply chains, and reducing carbon emissions rather than on carbon offsetting:

  • 34% of consumers stated that their trust in brands would be improved if they were recognised as an ethical/sustainable provider by an independent third party
  • 32% of consumers stated that their trust in brands would be improved if they had a transparent, accountable, and socially and environmentally responsible supply chain
  • 27% of consumers stated that their trust in brands would be improved if brands target 'Net-Zero' by reducing carbon emissions rather than relying on carbon offsetting.
 
Do commitments by businesses to climate change and sustainability influence consumers’ trust?
 

Which, if any, of the following are more likely to influence how much you trust brands and the commitment of businesses to climate change and sustainability?

These findings are based on a consumer survey carried out by independent market research agency YouGov, on behalf of Deloitte. This survey was conducted online with a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 UK adults aged 18+, between 7th and 9th July 2023.

Explore the research findings

Also from Consumer

 

Retail Trends 2024

Looking back at 2023, the majority of retailers across the globe will reflect on the headwinds they faced with soaring inflation rates, subdued consumer confidence and spending. However, for some, the tailwinds caused by advances in the exponential growth of technology far outweigh any of the challenges they have faced.

Learn more

 

2024 consumer products industry outlook

While winning approaches to 2024 may revolve around fundamentals like price, volume and mix, consumer products leaders will also likely confront newer challenges like generative AI, weight-loss drugs or emerging regulations. Learn more in our 2024 consumer products industry outlook.

Learn more

Did you find this useful?

Thanks for your feedback

If you would like to help improve Deloitte.com further, please complete a 3-minute survey