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The Attenborough effect: Brits want to be greener

Six in 10 Brits now feel pressure from David Attenborough to be greener. Can technology help them adapt their behaviour?



Some thought-provoking news here at Cube HQ today. The results of our
nationally-representative survey* we commissioned in December have
come through. The survey was purpose-built to give us an insight into the public’s opinions and motivations relating to sustainability and help guide our Ignite program. The findings were comprehensive and eye-opening, to say the least.

We’ve waded through the date and picked out some of the most impactful ones so that you don’t have to!


To begin, let’s talk about the Attenborough effect

The findings show us that national treasure, broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough is top of the list (59%) when it comes to putting influential pressure on consumers to be greener and make more sustainable choices. Over half of British consumers (51%) also feel pressure from wider society and four in 10 (40%) now credit Greta Thunberg with ‘green pressure’.

As we can see, the pressure is significant now – the impact of respected public figures and wider societal shifts is undeniable; the majority Brits want to start their journeys towards green living, and we love seeing that shift!

A strong majority of Brits want to change their lifestyle to become more environmentally sustainable. This majority (77%) acknowledges the importance of changing their lifestyle to become greener.

But how can we help them? Can new technology provide a pathway?

To help adapt their lifestyles and behaviour, many consumers are looking to technological innovations for support. 61% want an app to help them make greener buying decisions, and 50% would like an app that measures our individual and household carbon footprints. Other popular choices include:

– An app that helps us dispose of plastic more responsibly: 62%
– An app that helps reduce our overall energy consumption: 57%
– An app that tells us the cleanest times to use energy (e.g. when
there is more renewable energy, like wind and solar power,
available on the grid than fossil fuel-based energy): 54%
– An app that helps consumers find sustainable shops/services
nearby: 51%

Overall, more than half (52%) of consumers acknowledge technology will be crucial for enabling sustainable living.

The results also show the growing impact of documentaries on British attitudes towards diets in relation to sustainability. Over a third of Brits (34%) now say they have started avoiding animal products due to documentaries such as A Life on Our Planet, from David Attenborough, and The Game Changers, backed by James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Consumers know they’re not alone

Consumers are acutely aware that the success of the green revolution does not rest solely on their shoulders; businesses are also expected to play their part. 73% of consumers acknowledge businesses have a moral responsibility to minimise their environmental impact. A further 64% are calling on the government to introduce new legislation to make sure businesses are obliged to make their environmental footprint visible on all their products.

These results are encouraging!

While consumers are increasingly aware of their own responsibility to be of their own responsibilities to be greener, they haven’t forgotten about the responsibilities of businesses and the government. All three need to be on board if we are going to succeed in building a more sustainable society

When asked about the findings, our MD, Rich Strachan, said:

“These findings show a clear case for the use of technology, specifically apps, to boost sustainable behaviour change and environmental protection initiatives.

The technological tools to help consumers be greener are available to us, we just need to start developing and using them as soon as possible. Thanks to influential public figures such as David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, Brits are taking the climate crisis much more seriously now. Now is the time to come together and tackle the crisis wholeheartedly. It is not just up to governments; it is up to businesses and consumers as well. This is why we have launched Ignite.

Technology and apps are immensely powerful tools that change the way people behave. We’ve already seen the impact they can make working with The American Red Cross and World Resources Institute. We need to harness this power to nudge behaviour towards greener choices. Through this technology, we can empower consumers, businesses and NGOs to help protect ecosystems, be smarter with energy usage, and reduce our carbon footprints. The Ignite program is wholly dedicated to bringing organisations together on these issues and making these apps a reality.”

As we launch more initiatives and research findings from the Ignite program, we would love for you to follow our journey! If your company would like to get involved and collaborate, make sure you get in touch with our team.

To stay up to date with all new announcements, research findings, blog posts, future partnerships, and new services, make sure you’re following our social media channels.

* Survey research:
– 2,011 Nat Rep UK adults (18+) were surveyed from 2nd – 7th
December 2020
– Weighting: weighted to be representative of UK population


Published on February 5, 2021, last updated on February 5, 2021

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