Sustainability: Most Consumers Aiming For Environmentally Friendly Christmas Due To ‘COP26 Effect’

A recently published World Wildlife Fund (WWF) poll shows that nearly two-thirds of UK adults who celebrate Christmas intend to be more environmentally with their choices this year, with one-third citing recent news about the climate and nature crisis as the reason.

Driven By The ‘COP26’ Effect

The results of the poll, commissioned with Opinium Research, showed that what the WWF named the “COP26 effect” (the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference in Glasgow) has been a major driver in 64 per cent of UK adults looking to have greener Christmas than last year.

7 Out Of 10 Young People

The WWF poll results shows that the idea is particularly popular among the young with 7 in 10 of those aged 18 to 34 who celebrate Christmas saying that they intend to have a more environmentally friendly Christmas. The poll also revealed that the ‘COP26 effect’ of green issues being highlighted on the world stage was a driver for half of them making this decision.


Some of the other important stats from the poll reveal just how people intend to have a more environmentally friendly Christmas.  For example:

– 38 per cent of respondents intend to choose Christmas gifts with less packaging.

– 30 per cent intend to use energy-saving LED lights on their Christmas trees.

– 30 per cent intend to purchase FSC certified, recyclable wrapping paper and Christmas cards.

Chartered Institute of Marketing Poll

The results of the WWF poll echoed those of a Chartered Institute of Marketing poll just days earlier.  The CIM poll of 2,000 adults, also carried out by Opinium, showed that more than half of UK adults (53 per cent) who celebrate Christmas think that doing so in a more environmentally friendly way is more important this year than last year. The CIM poll also showed that almost half of respondents (45 per cent) are willing to spend a bit more to have an environmentally friendly Christmas. This figure was 60 per cent among 18- to 34-year-olds and this extra willingness among the young was also a feature of the WWF poll.

Greater Transparency and Less Packaging

The CIM poll also revealed that most consumers are concerned that companies use too much packaging (82 per cent), and most consumers (two-thirds) would prefer companies to be more transparent about the impact Christmas products and services have on the environment.

What Does This Mean For Your Organisation?

These polls appear to show that whether it is purely the effect of COP26, or a combination of things strengthened by an increased focus during and because of the pandemic, environmental issues are now being valued much more highly by consumers, even at a time where degrees of care-free excess has ruled in past. Young people who, arguably, have most to worry about with climate change and are more in touch with each other globally than ever before are, understandably, leading the charge in terms of prioritising the environment, even at Christmas.  Businesses and organisations should, therefore, take note that investing in greener products and reducing the amount and type of packaging (particularly reducing non-recyclable/ non-biodegradable packaging) and telling consumers about it could be rewarded by more sales and more favourable perceptions among target customers. Environmentally friendly products and packaging could, as the polls have indicated be a source of competitive advantage and differentiation (people are even prepared to pay more for it) that is valued at Christmas and beyond.

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