Research into sustainable living conducted by GlobeScan for Ingka Group (IKEA’s largest retailer) has identified five key ways to keep people motivated to take action on people and planet, and boost individual empowerment:
- Provide solutions to help people save money and support people and planet.
- Help people prioritise the most impactful and easiest actions and tell them what their impact is.
- Signpost responsible purchase choices, clearly label sustainable products and communicate co-benefits
- Continue to engage the many people on people and planet topics – rationally and emotionally.
- Push for legislation and incentives from government, and action from business on climate, protecting and restoring nature, and reducing inequality.
This research was carried out among over 33,000 people in 30 countries in 2023 to learn more about how people think, feel, and act in relation to people (inequality, community, human rights) and planet (climate, consumption, circular). GlobeScan and Ingka Group have been monitoring how these attitudes and actions have evolved over time through similar research conducted in 2017, 2019, and 2021.
Concern about Climate Change and Inequality
The study found that even in the context of geopolitical and economic instability across the world, many people are still very concerned about climate change and inequality (68% worry a lot/fair amount about climate change and 62% worry a lot/fair amount about inequality). People also see strong connections across environmental and social issues such as poverty, economic inequality and migration.
83% want to take more climate action, and personal empowerment is high, however it is declining. 76% believe each individual can help address climate change, down from 81% in 2021. The research highlights early signs of hopelessness among Gen Zs who have the largest decline in personal empowerment.
Taking Every Day Actions
Despite this, we found that people are increasingly taking everyday actions that help address climate change, especially if it helps them save money – unsurprising given recent cost-of-living increases in many countries. 66% take some personal action on the environment (increase from 64% in 2021) and saving money is now the top motivator for taking climate action (58% say it’s in their top three, an increase from 54% in 2021 and 45% in 2019). However, cost is a barrier if taking climate action is more expensive (48% rank among top three barriers, an increase from 44% in 2021 and 36% in 2019).’
There is some disparity between the everyday actions people take and the real impact they have. In the top six actions that people take regularly, only two are in the top six for real impact (according to Project Drawdown) – avoiding food waste and saving on heating and cooling. Not knowing the impact of their actions is a barrier for people, preventing them from taking more action. People also feel limited by a lack of support from government and business.
When it comes to the topic of inequality, 55% say they know a lot/fair amount and most people perceive all dimensions of equality (disability, age, gender, ethnicity, wealth, religion, LGBTQ+) as important to living in a fairer society. Over 3 in 4 believe each individual can help reduce inequality but, mirroring our insights on climate action, empowerment has declined since 2021 (76% down from 79% in 2021). Similarly, the research also discovered that people are taking more action in their daily lives to reduce inequality (64% take action at least sometimes, up from 56% in 2021). We found there is a stronger desire to support others in their community and to address unfairness and inequality in society.
High Expectations for Government and Business
On both people and planet topics, there are high expectations for government and business to support and take action. 65% of people want governments to take significant action to reduce climate change and 66% want significant action from business; 64% of people want governments to take significant action to reduce inequality and 61% want significant action from business. People want a carrot-and-stick approach from governments across both climate and inequality agendas – more policies, standards, incentives and investment – as well as public campaigns (to raise awareness, provide information on action and promote inclusivity), leadership and direction. On planet topics, they want business to lead by example and take more action to protect the environment in their own operations and supply chain and on the people side they expect business to focus on inclusivity, anti-discrimination and equal opportunities. 77% want to hear from companies about their environmental and social impacts.Download Report Read Press Release Watch Webinar