Despite unprecedented international cooperation towards environmental sustainability following the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement in November, upcoming changes in the political leadership of the US and international politicking threaten to hinder this progress. As such, the daily choices that consumers make about their consumption and energy use is critical now more than ever. In this post we explore Europeans’ attitudes toward eco-friendly consumption, renewable energy use, and public perception of industries’ environmental impact.

Eco-Friendly Purchases

Italians care the most about the environment when making purchasing decisions. 48% of Italians say they always or frequently consider the environmental impact when buying something, compared to 39% of Europeans overall. The percent of people who never or rarely consider environmentally friendly purchases is 24% across Europe, and highest in the UK and France (30% and 29% respectively).

Renewable Home Energy

19% of Europeans currently have a home electricity plan or source that includes a renewable energy component like wind or solar energy compared to 50% who don’t and 30% who are unsure. Half of Europeans without renewable energy would be willing to switch to an eco-friendly plan, as long as it isn’t more expensive, and 9% would be willing to switch even if they had to pay more. Among the 7 largest EU economies, Austrians currently have the most homes with renewable energy components at 45% and the UK comes in last with only 9%. Additionally, among responders without renewable energy, the UK and France are least likely to want to switch to a renewable system, with 36% and 34% expressing no interest. For a more detailed analysis of renewable energy systems in the EU, learn more about our full length report here.

Which industries can do better?

We also asked respondents to select three sectors (out of thirteen) in which they think companies are the worst at preserving the environment. The three sectors chosen as the least environmentally friendly were the automotive (12%), energy (8%), and pharmaceutical (4%) industries.

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