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Live sustainably: how to be a conscious consumer

18 Feb 2022

The everyday choices we make all have impacts on our planet

Our changing climate is making it harder to live in many parts of the world, often affecting some of the most disadvantaged communities. People are starting to realise that change is imminent and necessary.

Every little thing we do daily has an impact on the planet, from our dietary choices to the cars we drive. The good news is that every small change to our lifestyle can contribute to having a less negative impact on the environment.

Positively impact society
New research has highlighted many UK adults admit they would live more sustainably if it was more affordable[1]. Seven in ten (71%) UK adults surveyed say they would live more sustainably if they knew it wouldn’t cost them any more money.

Those surveyed as part of the in-depth study, which looks at the conscious decisions individuals make to positively impact society, found that three-in-five (61%) UK adults say they do spend money on goods or services that they know are ethical or sustainable. Of which 43% can put a price tag on how much they are spending, which is on average of £51.90 per month – the equivalent to £622.80 per year.

More sustainable choices
Almost a quarter (23%) say they spend up to £50 per month per person. While one in five (20%) say they spend more than £50, and one in ten (10%) spend more than £100 every month. When asked whether living consciously should cost more money, or whether individuals should be incentivised or rewarded to live in this way, more than a fifth (22%) felt they should be rewarded and/or incentivised.

While more than a quarter (28%) believe everything is expensive enough. And one five (19%) simply can’t afford to pay anymore. One in five (21%) think we should all pay to protect the planet for future generations, while 9% admitted they would be happy to pay a higher price for good and services if it meant more sustainable choices and products are available.

Make ethical purchases
Those aged between 25-35 are more likely to make ethical purchases despite it being more expensive, compared to any other age group. Whilst those aged 55-64 are the least likely (15% vs 3%). Those who earn a larger income are also more likely to make ethical purchases, with 48% of those earning more than £100k happy to spend more on sustainable brands in comparison to 5% of those earning less than £20k.

When it comes to parents, there are also interesting patterns, with those who have children under 18 spending £91.70 per month per person more to make sustainable choices. This is in comparison to parents with children over 18, who spend an extra £21.20.

Support the planet
In the UK, billions of pounds are held in pensions and savings. Looking more closely and asking where your savings are being invested, and what it they are supporting, can go a long way to ensuring you’re investing responsibly.
Doing this could help if you want to do more to support the planet and make a positive impact, without it having to cost you the earth.

Source data:
[1] Pru, part of M&G plc, Power of Sustainable Living report – research was carried by Opinium among a UK representative sample of 2,000 consumers – UK adults spend £51.90 per month. Multiplied by 12 months is £622.80 – 13.10.21.

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