Two in Three People are Prepared to Halve Their Consumption to Help Save the Planet

2022 Healthy & Sustainable Living research study

Two in three people now say they are willing to reduce their consumption by half to avoid environmental damage and climate change, especially those who have worried children at home, according to a new global consumer survey.

The research shows that global concern about climate change is at an all-time high and that a majority of people living with children under the age of 18 say their children are very worried about environmental problems and climate change. People living in these households are more likely than the average to have a strong desire to live sustainably and are much more likely to have made major changes to do so.

The cost-of-living crisis is also affecting consumers’ willingness to pay for more purposeful products and brands. Amid widespread increases in daily expenses, consumers have become less likely to say they are willing to pay more for products or brands that contribute positively to society or the environment, especially in Europe. As many as three in four people around the world agree that environmentally responsible products have become more expensive in the past year.

The findings from the 2022 Healthy & Sustainable Living research study by global insights and advisory consultancy GlobeScan and partners surveyed almost 30,000 people across 31 markets. This study has been tracking consumer attitudes and behaviors around living healthier and more sustainable lifestyles since 2019.

The research also shows that there is widespread desire among consumers to change their behaviors to be healthier and more sustainable, but the gap between desire and action remains persistent. Consumers with low purchasing power, those who are younger, and consumers in emerging markets experience the largest gaps between aspirations and action.

Despite recent discussions about greenwashing, the study reveals that consumers remain interested in sustainability marketing communications, and most of those who have heard or read about a company’s sustainability messaging say that they trust these communications.


Key findings include:

  • Concern about climate change and environmental issues continues to grow as 65 percent of people now say climate change is “very serious,” up from 48 percent in 2003 among 17 tracked markets.
  • Sixty-three percent of people living with children under the age of 18 say their children are very worried about environmental problems and climate change.
  • Forty percent of people across the world say that they would not want to have children because of climate change.
  • Sixty-eight percent at least somewhat agree that they would be willing to reduce their consumption by half to avoid environmental damage and climate change, especially those with worried children at home (85%).
  • Those living with children under the age of 18 who say their children are very worried about environmental problems and climate change are more likely than average to have a strong desire to live sustainably (66%) and are much more likely to have made major changes recently to do so (42%).
  • Although half (50%) say they would like to change their lifestyle “a great deal” to be more environmentally friendly, only 26 percent claim to have made “major changes” in the past year to reduce their impact.
  • Seventy-five percent of consumers agree that environmentally responsible products have become more expensive in the past 12 months.
  • Fifty-five percent of consumers across 23 markets tracked between 2019 and 2022 now say they at least “somewhat agree” they would be willing to pay more for products or brands that work to improve society and the environment, down from 58 percent in 2021 and 2020. Willingness to pay more has declined the most in Australia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
  • Consumers trust sustainability marketing communications. Eight in ten people who have heard or read about a company’s sustainability messaging trust the communications

The 2022 study was designed by GlobeScan with a range of partners including Akatu Institute, IKEA, Levi Strauss & Co., M&C Saatchi Group, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, P&G, PepsiCo, Reckitt, Visa, and WWF International. The goal of the study is to help organizations better understand the mindsets of consumers globally and what enables them or prevents them from living in a healthier and more sustainable way.


Helio Mattar, President at Akatu Institute said:“Inflation does naturally affect consumption in many ways. However, even with that economic difficulty, consumers clearly perceive the environmental risks linked to consumption and are concerned, in significant proportions, about climate change and environmental issues. Given that in households where children are worried about these issues, a larger proportion of adults are concerned, children are acting as activists at home and will tend to take this concern forward in a stronger way than their parents. This is good news for more sustainable products.”

Chris Coulter, CEO, GlobeScan said: “Despite the cost-of-living crisis, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, we are seeing remarkably robust levels of concern and engagement everywhere on the sustainability agenda.”

Pär Stenmark, Chief Sustainability Officer, Inter IKEA Group said: “In this study more than 60 percent feel greatly affected by the increased cost of living, and almost 40 percent feel greatly affected by climate change. This shows the importance of making healthy and sustainable living affordable for the many. At IKEA, we are constantly looking for new innovative products and solutions that enable people to reduce their environmental impact at home, for example solutions to save energy and water, purify indoor air, reduce waste, and eat more plant-based. Living more sustainably has to be inspirational and a default option.”

Tom Firth, Founding Partner, M&C Saatchi LIFE said: “Many consumers continue to need organizations and brands to help them lead the healthier and more sustainable lifestyles they aspire to but are unable to achieve – especially those with less purchasing power and those who are younger. Although we see positive trends toward more frequent sustainable behaviors, the gap between aspirations and actions remains wide in all countries. It is essential for brands and organizations to make different aspects of sustainable living easier for consumers – especially those with limited means – in order to encourage more frequent action.”

Randi Kronthal-Sacco, Senior Scholar at the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business said: “Manufacturers and marketers should take note that consumers view environmentally friendly products as better than or equal to conventional alternatives, and the brands that do nothing will fall victim.”

David Croft, Global Head of Sustainability, Reckitt said:“Sustainability is embedded in Reckitt’s product innovation process, generating premium products while reducing our environmental footprint. This enables us to meet the growing expectations of people across the world, while empowering them to protect themselves against the growing impacts that climate change has on their health and hygiene.”

Douglas Sabo, Chief Sustainability Officer, Visa said: “With the urgency of climate action continuing to grow, now is the time to redouble efforts to empower millions of consumers to adopt more sustainable behaviors and make more sustainable choices. Doing so starts with Visa and other partners helping the ecosystem of commerce better understand consumers’ sustainable living ambitions and aspirations, which is why the Healthy & Sustainable Living Study is so important year after year.”

Samantha Putt Del Pino, Interim Global Markets Practice Leader for WWF said: “This year the survey ratifies the increasing importance and concern on climate change and environmental issues for consumers, especially those with younger children. Governments will soon be coming together at COP27 and COP15 to negotiate agreements on climate and nature. They should not disappoint present and future generations but instead assure ambitious frameworks that deliver a net-zero, nature-positive, and equitable future.”


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About the Healthy & Sustainable Living Research Program

Healthy & Sustainable Living is an annual global consumer insights research program designed to help brands understand shifting preferences and behaviors related to healthy and sustainable living. This research helps organizations learn how to engage consumers on wellness and sustainability issues and enable healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

Building on the insights from the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Healthy & Sustainable Living Global Consumer Insights studies, a total of around 30,000 people in 31 markets were surveyed about their attitudes, opinions, and behaviors linked to more sustainable and healthier lifestyles. The research was conducted in June and July 2022.

Survey sampling and data collection was achieved using best-in-class online consumer panels in each of the 31 markets and optimized to represent consumers per the latest census data for those aged 18 years and up.

Participating markets include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Thailand, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam.