NEWS22 April 2021

UK climate concern sits alongside other issues

Covid-19 FMCG News Public Sector Trends UK

UK – Over half ( 57%) of UK adults think the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down progress on tackling the climate crisis, according to research from insight and research business Truth.

Flooding climate change street_crop

In a survey of 2,000 adults, 55% of respondents expressed concern that economic recovery from the pandemic will result in less focus on climate issues.

While almost three-quarters ( 72%) of respondents think that climate change is an urgent issue and were concerned by a range of its effects, there were similar levels of concern over other issues, exacerbated by Covid-19 – 71% were concerned by economic instability and 68% were concerned by mental wellbeing, both of which had increased in comparison with the same research in 2020.

Similarly, 64% had concerns about the widening gap between rich and poor.

The research also found that fewer than a third ( 30%) felt confident that the UK government is taking sufficient steps to tackle climate change, up from 24% in 2020. Brands fared little better, with only 24% of those surveyed feeling confident that companies are taking sufficient steps.

Additionally, almost half ( 45%) of respondents said they don’t have time to research how sustainable their purchases are, with 61% claiming to want to make ‘more sustainable choices’ but finding it hard to know what to do.

Research from Accenture, also published today, found that half of respondents do not have a good understanding of which brands are sustainable or ethical, and which are not.

The Accenture survey, conducted across 19 countries, found that 70% of respondents would support a mandatory labelling standard for products, such as a traffic light indicator, and 65% of consumers felt that their government should introduce legislation to promote ‘conscious consumption’, for example, sustainable packaging.

Louise McLaren, partner at Truth, who led the research, said: “It is important not to assume that people have less appetite for hearing about climate change than they did pre-Covid-19 and that social-related messages must be prioritised instead. Climate concern remains. But it also critical to recognise that climate concern sits in a more complex context today with people worrying about economic stability.

“A positive that has emerged in the last year as a result of Covid-19 is an increase in community responsibility and engagement, which triggers thinking around how climate action can be made more real at a local level.”

Last week, the Insight Climate Collective launched a survey to assess the market sector’s views on the climate crisis, with findings set to be used to inform a report published alongside the Market Research Society.


  • Truth research: Based on a survey with a nationally representative sample of over 2,000 people in the UK in January and February 2021.
  • Accenture research: Surveys conducted November-December 2020 and February-March 2021 with 12,487 and 9,653 consumers respectively, in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UAE, UK, USA.