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78% of consumers feel they are “doing what they can” to be sustainable

By March 9, 2024No Comments

Three quarters of Irish consumers feel they are doing as much as they can, within their means, to be sustainable, a new survey from EY has found.

The research also discovered that more than half of Irish households think energy providers and Government should take the leading role in the shift to cleaner energy.

Just over one in five believe individual consumers should be leading, the analysis showed.

While in a sign of the pressure that people are under from the higher cost of living, 69% of Irish respondents said they can’t absorb a bill increase of 10%.

“After a number of years of spiking energy prices due to the conflict in Ukraine, combined with cost-of-living challenges facing many, it’s not surprising that Irish households feel that they are not in a position to do more on energy sustainability,” said Sean Casey, Energy & Infrastructure Consulting Leader at EY, which conducted the study among 1,042 respondents in Ireland.

“Our research finds that the majority of Irish consumers say that they’ve already done everything they can, with only three in ten feeling they can do more to be more sustainable.”

Mr Casey added that the situation poses a significant challenge as we move towards the next critical phase of meeting climate change commitments.

“While efforts on the supply side from producers are gaining momentum, with record renewable energy generation on the grid, we need an even more fundamental shift in how we engage and encourage sustainable energy consumption behaviours, as 70% of the outcome of the energy transition depends on people changing their behaviour, most notably how we power our homes and how we get around,” he said.

The research also found a generation gap when it comes to the Irish consumers willingness to pay more for more sustainable energy.

A third of Gen Z respondents said they were willing to pay a premium, significantly ahead of the 20% of Millenials, the 14% of Gen X and 15% of Boomers.

More than seven in ten Irish consumers also reported that they offset their positive energy actions with negative actions and behaviours, like replacing an appliance/device with a new one and continuing to also use the old one.

“This challenge is compounded by the fact that the consumption of a good or service often increases as prices fall – meaning that the rapid gains in terms of sustainable energy entering the grid in the past decade will be outweighed by increased energy demand overall,” said Mr Casey.

“It’s imperative therefore that we redouble efforts to educate and support households to reduce energy use where possible.”

EY said there is now a significant opportunity for energy companies to close the gap between consumer interest and action on sustainability.

Article Source – 78% of consumers feel they are “doing what they can” to be sustainable – RTE

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