Consumers want to know carbon footprint of products

October 29, 2019 by Kirsty Adams
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Consumers want to know carbon footprint of products

More than 70% of UK consumers want companies to share data on the carbon emissions created during the manufacturing of products to allow them to make more ethical purchasing decisions according to a new poll commissioned by the world’s largest producer of low carbon aluminium, En+ Group.

The research found that 68% of the UK public want to check the carbon content of anything they buy but are not satisfied with the availability of information.  When it is available, transparency can also have a positive commercial impact; of those polled, 63% of Britons saying that they would be likely or very likely to choose a car with a lower carbon footprint over alternatives with up to 28% willing to pay a premium.

Full findings of the poll below
The YouGov poll shows that UK consumers care more than those in the US and Germany about the carbon footprint of the products they buy. In Britain, 67% claim that if they had access to accurate data, they would be more likely to purchase lower carbon products, compared with 61% of Germans and 57% of US consumers. 
En+ established the research to understand consumer attitudes as part of its campaign to increase transparency of the carbon content of aluminium. Lightweight and endlessly recyclable, aluminium is vital material for energy-efficient cars, as an alternative to plastics in packaging, and in the design and construction of sustainable buildings. 



While the aluminium industry contributes 4% of the world’s carbon emissions, low-carbon aluminium has a carbon footprint that is some 20 times smaller than other aluminium produced. En+ is urging the entire aluminium value-chain to join the transition to a low carbon economy and is calling on the London Metals Exchange to set the standard by creating a low-carbon aluminium asset class.

Lord Barker, Executive Chairman of En+ Group, said: 
“Consumers understand that the purchasing decisions they make can have a real impact on climate change and are demanding the information they need to make smart choices.”
Poll results*

• Consumers care about the carbon footprint of the products they buy
60% of UK consumers care about buying products with a low carbon footprint, compared to 56% of German and 53% of US consumers. If information about a products carbon footprint was easily accessible, 67% of UK consumers would be more likely to purchase lower carbon products, compared to 61% of German and 57% of US consumers. 

• Consumers want more information on the carbon footprint of day-to-day products
46% of UK consumers said they are likely to now start looking for information on the carbon content of the products they buy, while 68% of UK consumers who already checked this information said they were not satisfied with the availability of information.

• Consumers are beginning to consider a product’s environmental impact both before and after use
When purchasing drinks on the go, more than twice as many UK consumers consider recyclability a very important factor (36%) compared to those who consider the carbon footprint very important (17%).

• Manufacturers should be accountable for the carbon footprint of their products
71% of UK consumers believe all companies should be obliged to share the carbon footprints of their products with customers. 60% of US and 58% of German consumers feel the same way.

• Many consumers would be willing to pay a premium for a car with a lower carbon footprint
o 63% of UK consumers would be likely to choose a car manufactured with a lower carbon footprint over alternatives, with 28% ‘Very Likely’ to do so, and 28% willing to pay at least a 5% premium for a lower carbon car, and 15% willing to pay at least an extra 10%.

o In the US, 55% of consumers would be likely choose a car manufactured with a lower carbon footprint over alternatives, with 24% ‘Very likely’ to do so, and 29% willing to pay at least a 5% premium for a lower carbon car, with 15% willing to pay at least an extra 10%. 

o In Germany, 52% of consumers would be likely to choose a car manufactured with a lower carbon footprint over alternatives, with 35% ‘Fairly likely’ to do so, and 27% would be willing to pay at least a 5% premium for a lower carbon car, with 13% willing to pay at least an extra 10%.

• Local governments should block the development of buildings that have high carbon footprints
70% of UK residents said the government should deny new building requests for buildings constructed with higher carbon footprints, compared with 48% of German and 41% of US residents. 82% of UK respondents said they don’t feel well informed about which building materials have a low carbon footprint, compared to 76% of German and 64% of US residents.

• Many consumers would be willing to pay a premium for household products with a lower carbon footprint

o 34% of UK consumers would be willing to pay at least a 5% premium for lower carbon household products, with 16% willing to pay at least 10% more.
o In Germany, 32% would be willing to pay at least a 5% premium for lower carbon household products, with 16% willing to pay at least 10% more, and in the US, 33% would be willing to pay at least a 5% premium for lower carbon household products, with 18% willing to pay at least 10% more.
 

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