COVID-19 has forced us to re-evaluate how we live and what is importantIt is likely that the scale of the changes made over the past year will result in some long-term shifts in national values and culture. To gain insight into what changes we could see, Hubbub undertook public polling of 3,000 people from a cross-representation of society asking what New Year’s resolutions they would be making. Promisingly, the environment fit into many of them - here are some of the trends we saw for greener intentions and actions. 

Greener resolutions 

We know resolutions often struggle to last past January, but the polling revealed a surprisingly high desire for people to commit to a greener way of living, as well as an expectation from people that companies should make it easier for them to act. 

Of the 3,000 people surveyed, 1 in 6 people are resolving to reduce their impact on the environment. This ranked higher than resolutions about romantic relationships, relationships with friends and hobbies. 

Over half of this group said they plan to recycle better, which was the most popular New Year’s environmental resolution, followed by eating less meat (49%), cycling and walking more for shorter journeys (38%) and wasting less food (36%).  

A strong desire to purchase and produce less ‘stuff’  

34% of those making an environmental New Year's resolution plan to buy less “unnecessary stuff”. This theme was echoed when people were asked what the top priorities for companies and brands should be. The top three, which all ranked higher than both looking after employees first and foremost and allowing employees to work at home more often, were: 

  • Stop making and selling products that nobody actually needs (30%) 
  • Produce products that are designed to last (30%) 
  • Stop putting pressure on consumers to buy things we don't need (27%) 

The survey also showed shifting attitudes in clothes purchasing. 61% of those polled said that instead of shopping for new clothes they are generally making do with what they already have. 21% said they’re using charity shops more than they were this time last year (this was 30% for 16-24 year olds) and 1 in 6 said they’d consider renting clothes. 

Helping households save money and cut carbon emissions  

The results are encouraging for Hubbub as we intensify our efforts to help households save money, live healthier and cut carbon emissions. Our new campaign in Manchester will help people from all sections of the community to act, our research with BT will explore how technology can make a difference and we will be announcing several new corporate partnerships promoting sustainable diets and cutting food waste.  

Our guiding light for offering support to households will be the excellent analysis contained in the recent Climate Change Committee report, ‘The UK’s path to Net Zero’In a nutshell, this report highlighted the need for households to: 

  • Cut red meat and dairy consumption. 
  • Support low carbon farming through purchasing local, seasonal and less processed foods. 
  • Reduce waste and recycle more. 
  • Cut energy use and shift to renewable energy tariffs. 
  • Shift home heating to electricity. 
  • Cut miles driven and move to electric vehicles. 
  • Boost nature and diversity by not buying peat and supporting conservation projects such as tree-planting and peat restoration. 

Please do get in touch if you would like to collaborate on our household campaigns. You can also find the full results and raw data of our polling here for more detail.