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Britons not as green as they appear

Published: 10 December 2007
Over 80% of people believe that climate change is having an impact on the UK right now and yet 40% of us are doing nothing to reduce our energy use.
These findings from the Energy Savings Trust's (EST) Green Barometer indicate that although Britons know and care about environmental issues, actually doing something is altogether different.

Being seen to be green is popular among 70% of the UK population.

"It's a socially acceptable thing," the EST said. "Reducing the amount of energy in the home is seen to be as virtuous as donating to charity. Interestingly, reducing the use of cars and planes is rated as significantly less virtuous."

The EST continued: "Few, however, are actually making the necessary lifestyle changes - with 40% doing nothing at all. That's the difference between what we are saying about climate change and what we are actually doing. It seems that many of us do a few small things (39%), but few have taken the step-up to make substantial lifestyle changes (4%).

The Green Barometer is the first national index of public opinion on green issues and will track these on a quarterly basis.

Green profiles

As part of The Green Barometer, the EST has identified eight consumer profiles.

  • Green atoners: most likely to be affluent, perhaps offsetting consumerist guilt with green action.

  • Green goddesses: women seem to be generally more aware and active than men, caring more and turning this into action.

  • Green boomers: 55+ age group. Concerned about the effect on children and grandchildren. Prepared to make changes.

  • Green savers: those who are more interested in saving money more than saving the environment.

  • Green campaigners/leaders: most likely to put their money where their mouth is. Want to see the UK leading the way.

  • Green speculators: dipping their toes in the water. Only taking small actions.

  • Green pretenders: saying they are concerned/doing things, but not following through.

  • Green apprentices: those that need to be told what to do/need more guidance.

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