2020 sparks a Green Revolution as more consumers start to ‘walk the walk’

Consumers are increasingly taking action to ensure their buying choices are positively affecting the world we live in. 2020 saw many consumers start to ‘walk the walk’ and take steps to reduce their impact on the environment according to new research from Rathbone Greenbank Investments.

37% of people have reduced their use of single-use plastic in the last twelve months, and 23% are trying to buy fewer consumer products. In addition, when choosing products or services, over one in ten (13%) said they have made efforts in the last year to only buy eco-friendly brands where possible.

"37% of people have reduced their use of single-use plastic in the last twelve months, and 23% are trying to buy fewer consumer

products."

This growing awareness of the power of the individual consumer when it comes to affecting change is also reflected in the growing numbers interested in investing in ethically focused companies and funds. According to research from PWC, assets in sustainable investment products are expected to reach €7.6 trillion, outnumbering conventional funds, in the next five years.

Previous research from Rathbone Greenbank Investments found that close to a third (31%) of people said that the COVID-19 pandemic had increased their awareness of climate change and the local environment. Many are now taking steps to ensure their actions as a consumer are having a positive impact and this means making more sustainable choices about where they spend and invest their money.

This growing awareness of the power of the consumer is having a direct impact on the businesses people are choosing to buy products or services from. 42% of people said that supporting businesses making a positive impact on the environment would be key to a green recovery following the pandemic. A further 24% said that investing in companies having a positive impact would be another important route to recovery. 

In addition, 36% said that supporting companies with public green initiatives was another important means of aiding an economic recovery that benefited our planet. For example, 12% of consumers say they have switched energy company in order to use one which supplies renewable energy. A growing public consciousness of the impact we are having on the environment and a greater demand for action has helped to push this issue further to the top of the world’s agenda with governments and organisations pledging to ‘Build Back Better’ as part of the coronavirus recovery plan.

"36% said that supporting companies with public green initiatives was another important means of aiding an economic recovery that benefited our planet."

 

John David, head of Rathbone Greenbank Investments comments: “The last year has pushed the ’green revolution’ into fifth gear. It’s now not enough to just ‘talk the talk’, you must also ‘walk the walk’. More consumers are now actively making ethical choices when they purchase products or services. Those brands making sustainable choices will therefore reap the benefits as this trend gains more momentum.  

As the 2030 deadline to meet the goals set in the Paris Agreement edges closer, it’s reassuring to see some of the world’s biggest economies start to take the issue of global warming more seriously and put in place measures to combat the climate crisis.

Finally, we’re increasingly seeing individuals and institutions considering ESG and sustainable options when it comes to their investments. While we’ve been investing this way for over 20 years, we’ve seen a true step-change in the last year with more investors realising you don’t have to lose out on profit to invest ethically.