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Sustainability Statistics, Facts & Figures for the UK in 2022

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We as humans have now become the single biggest threat to our planet - but equally, we also have the opportunity to put things right. With the introduction of new eco technologies and initiatives we’re gradually moving towards a greener, more sustainable future. But what are the UK’s thoughts and feelings about sustainability in 2022? How many of us are willing to pay more for our products in order for them to be more environmentally friendly? And just how large has the ethical consumer market become here in the UK in 2022? 

To provide answers to all of these questions and more, we surveyed 1,000 UK adults, analysed over 20,000 Google searches and rounded up all of the latest sustainability facts, figures and data for 2022. 

Sustainability Statistics for the UK in 2022: In a Nutshell

  • Almost half of Brits(48%)think thatmore could be done when it comes to sustainability. 
  • The age group thatmost strongly agrees that the UK could be more sustainable is those aged55 to 64.
  • Thoseaged 25 to 34 and 18-24 are theleast likelyto feel that the UK should be more sustainable. 
  • Bristol is thesustainable shopping capital of the UK, followed closely by Glasgow, Edinburgh and Leeds.
  • In 2020, the average household spent£2,189 on ethical goods. 
  • At the end of 2020, the UK’s ethical consumer market was worth a staggering £122 billion.

What are the UK’s views on sustainability in 2022? 

We surveyed 1,000 UK adults in February 2022 to discover how they feel about the country’s current sustainability efforts and whether or not they believe there’s still more to be done. The survey asked: 

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement ‘The UK needs to be more sustainable’

The findings revealed that: 

  • Almost half of people in the UK (48%) strongly agree that more could be done when it comes to sustainability. 
  • 34%somewhat agree that more should be done for the environment in the UK. 
  • And 18% say they either disagree or are indifferent when it comes to whether or not the UK should make an effort to be more sustainable. 

Which age groups are most passionate about sustainability in 2022? 

We often see climate protests, veganism movements and anti-fast fashion campaigns in the media being run by fairly young individuals. But at the same time, many of our country’s leading environmental activists in the UK are older people, such as Sir David Attenborough, Chris Packham and Caroline Lucas. So is it the younger generations who are the most eco-conscious? Or is it in fact older members of society? 

To find out, we asked the participants of our survey to disclose their age alongside their answers to the survey. The results found that: 

  • The age group that most strongly agrees that the UK could be more sustainable is those aged 55 to 64 (57%).
  • This is closely followed by 45 to 54 year-olds, 56% of which strongly agree with the statement.
  • Those least likely to agree with the statement ‘The UK should be more sustainable’ are in fact those aged 25 to 34, just 39% of whom say they strongly agree with the statement. 
  • Also amongst the least likely to agree with movements towards a more sustainable future in the UK are those aged 18 to 24 (41%).

Are men or women more eco-conscious? 

With more and more women in the public eye speaking out about their views on climate change and environmental issues, we wanted to find out just how different men’s and women’s views on the matter are. 

When it comes to gender, our survey found that: 

  • Women feel more strongly that the UK could be more sustainable than men.
  • As over half of women (52%) say they feel strongly about the matter. 
  • Whilst less than half of men (45%) say the same. 

Eco Friendly Products Market Statistics for the UK in  2022 

Whilst attitudes towards sustainability vary between age groups, genders and within different industries, we’re now seeing a huge shift towards greener practices from suppliers to retailers and of course consumers. But which parts of the UK have the highest demand for more sustainable products and services? And how has the ethical consumer market here in the UK changed over the last few years? 

Let’s find out! 

Where in the UK are eco-friendly shops and clothing most popular? 

To discover which parts of the UK are most interested in shopping with eco-friendly retailers, we analysed Google search data for the country’s 20 most populous towns and cities using the tool Keyword Finder. The results revealed that: 

  • Every year in the UK, 58,800 online searches are conducted for the term ‘sustainable clothing brands’. 
  • The towns and cities that are most interested in shopping sustainably when it comes to clothing are Edinburgh, Bristol and Manchester, followed by Leeds and Glasgow. 
  • When it comes to eco-friendly shops in general, Bristol has the highest demand, followed closely by Glasgow, Edinburgh and Leeds.

 

 

How about eco-friendly products? 

Judging by our online searches, it’s quite clear that those in the North West of England, Bristol, Scotland and Northern Ireland display the most interest in eco-friendly shops compared with the rest of the UK. But which parts of the country are most interested in sustainable products in general? From gifts to food, furniture and cleaning products? 

To find out, we conducted another analysis using the tool Keyword Finder in order to determine which of the UK’s major towns and cities search the most for terms such as ‘Eco friendly products’, ‘sustainable products’ and ‘eco friendly cleaning products’.

Our analysis found that: 

  • Again, those in Leeds and Bristol pave the way with their interest in sustainable goods, with their high search volumes indicating that they’re big fans of buying and using sustainable products. 
  • Also high up on the list were Plymouth, Glasgow and Manchester, all of which conducted high rates of searches for the above terms.

How much does a typical household spend on sustainable products? 

The Co-op’s most recent Ethical Consumerism Report found that: 

  • In 2020, the typical household spent £2,189 on ethical goods. That’s 113% more than the average household spend in 2010 which was £1,028. 
  • The areas households tend to spend the most on when it comes to sustainability are ethical food and drink (£507 a year), ethical transport (£439) renewable energy (£331) and energy efficiency (£306).
  • Other common expenditures relating to ethical or sustainable goods include sustainable clothing, local shopping and ethical cosmetics. 

What is the ethical consumer market size in the UK in 2022? 

As the above report shows, conscious consumerism is clearly on the rise here in the United Kingdom. But just how much is the ethical consumer market in the UK worth in 2022? 

  • Well, at the end of 2020, the UK’s ethical consumer market was worth a staggering £122 billion.
  • That’s an impressive increase from just £11.2 billion in 1999! 

What does the future look like for the ethical consumer market in the UK?

With annual inflation reaching 9% by April of 2022 and the cap on energy prices expected to be to be £830 by October 2022, it’s difficult to predict what the near future will look like for our country’s ethical consumer market. Consumers are being hit hard financially at the moment, so a drop in interest in potentially higher priced, sustainably sourced produce could well be on the cards. 

Not only this, but retailers have been impacted hugely over the last few years by the coronavirus pandemic. This combined with the effects of the war in Ukraine has had a variety of serious effects on the global economy. 

But as long as UK businesses and consumers continue to make an effort when it comes to shopping sustainably, such as reducing carbon footprint and opting for eco-friendly packaging where possible, we can all make a big difference to the future of our planet. 

We hope this article has been useful in providing you with all of the most up-to-date facts, figures and statistics on the topic of sustainability in 2022! If you’d like any further information about our study, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Or if you’d like to see more research like this, head over to our blog and check out our recent Recycling Statistics piece.

 

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