Bridging the Gap

Why don’t people act on their sustainable intentions? This report seeks to understand why the intention-action gap exists for consumers when it comes to making sustainable decisions.

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What's inside?

Based on nationally representative survey data, this report analyses and highlights the most informative findings and provides solutions aimed at businesses and policy makers to help bridge the gap for consumers.

Key insights into consumer attitudes:

  •  The majority of consumers are motivated to live sustainable lives.
    • 64% say sustainability is either a top priority (14%) or a priority (50%)
  • Consumers care more about sustainability now than five years ago.
    • Almost three fifths (59%) claim sustainability is more important to them now than it was then. Broken down by age, this figure increases to 71% among those aged 18 to 24 and 73% of 25 to 34- year-olds.
  •  The intention-action gap exists for at least a third of consumers.
    • A third (32%) admit that they set out to make a sustainable decision, and then fail to follow through with it when buying. The gap is especially prevalent among those aged 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 (46% and 47% respectively)
    • The UK adult population is approximately 55,000,000 people – that means closing the gap would deliver a highly significant benefit to the environment as it would impact around 17,600,000 adults in the UK.
  • An expectation for technological innovation.
    • Over 50% of consumers expect businesses to make innovations using technology which facilitate sustainable behaviour.
  • The most prevalent perceived barriers to sustainable choices for consumers are:
  1. Perceived cost – a problem for 44% of consumers 
  2. Practicality and availability – a problem for 27% and 24% of consumers respectively
  3. Motivation – 8% are not motivated to live more sustainably at all (down from 15% last year)