New research conducted in the UK shows that more and more people are making New Year’s resolutions to reduce their impact on the planet in 2021.
Environmental charity Hubbub surveyed 3,000 adults and found that 1 in 6 people have this year vowed to live more sustainably. The green resolutions ranked even higher than the usual contenders such as romantic relationships and new hobbies.
Breaking down the answers given in the survey, recycling topped the list with over half of the group claiming they wanted to get better at it. Then came plans to eat less meat (49 per cent), cycling/walking more (38 per cent) and wasting less food (36 per cent).
“It’s really encouraging,” says CEO of Hubbub Trewin Restorick. “The sorts of changes the public are embracing as part of their New Year’s resolutions [...] are closely aligned with the recent Climate Change Committee report which details the pathway that the UK should take to reach net zero by 2050.”
The poll also suggested that the UK is seeing shifting attitudes towards clothing consumption, especially as January sales kick off. Over a third would like to buy less “unnecessary stuff” and even 16-24 year-olds agreed that they would choose comfort and warmth over fashion this winter.
Data insight firm McKinsey suggests something similar in its recent projection of the fashion industry in 2021. It predicts that consumers (and increasingly, investors) will reward companies that treat their workers and the environment with respect, adding that the deeper relationships that emerge will bring benefits in agility and accountability.
“The message from the public to businesses is loud and clear – stop pushing products that people don’t actually need and start making products that are designed to last,” says Restorick.
How can households stick to green New Year’s resolutions?
Hubbub has provided guidance for households in 2021 to help the UK reach its target of net zero. These are split into four different sections, food, home, travel and community.
- Cut red meat consumption by 30%
- Cut dairy consumption by 20%
- Support low carbon farming through purchasing choices.
- Cut the amount of waste thrown in the bin by 40%.
- Commit to recycling all electronic waste.
- Reduce your energy use by 5%
- Shift to a renewable energy tariff
- Explore ways to move your home heating towards electricity – for example by installing a heat pump
- Commit to not buying peat
- Cut miles driven by 10%
- Commit to replacing a car with a new electric vehicle
- Make a charitable donation or volunteer to restore peatlands and support planting mixed UK woodlands