Half of UK adults believe that if action on climate change had happened sooner, household bills would not be as high as they are now
Business in the Community (BITC), The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, has today published new research which found that half of UK adults believe that if action to address climate change had happened sooner, bills including food, fuel and energy would not be as high as they are today. The research conducted by YouGov also found that 18-24-year-olds are more likely to agree with this statement (58%) compared to those aged 55 or over (38%). 
People living in Scotland (53%) are most likely to agree that action on climate change would have reduced household bills, followed by London (51%), East of England (50%) and Wales (49%) compared to 43% of those living in North and Midlands and 46% in the South.
With food, fuel and energy bills increasing across the UK, the research asked UK adults if they have access to affordable and sustainable products and services. When asked about access to affordable and sustainable food, 46% of those from the ABC1 social grade said they have access to affordable and sustainable food, compared to 36% of those from the C2DE social grade.
When asked about travel, only three in 10 people (31%) in the UK believe that they have access to affordable and sustainable travel, rising to four in 10 (44%) in London. In the regions, the following percentage of people said that they do not have access to affordable and sustainable travel:
- 45% in East of England
- 44% in Wales
- 43% in South East
- 42% in Yorkshire and the Humber, South West and Scotland
- 40% in East Midlands
- 39% in Northern Ireland
- 38% in the North West
- 37% in West Midlands
- 35% in the North East
- 31% in London
The research also found that four in 10 UK adults (43%) said that they have access to affordable and sustainable energy, with people aged 18-24 less likely to agree (36%) compared to those aged 55 or over (44%).
This new research, carried out with support from Royal London, comes as BITC launches a manifesto for change with specific calls to action for businesses and policymakers to help reach net zero before 2050 and as close to 2030 as possible, whilst also addressing the cost-of-living crisis. The calls to action include:
- The Government should tackle the cost-of-living crisis now while building resilience for the long term, and,
- Commit to a binding target for reducing the UK’s emissions from consumption, in line with the international net zero goal.
- Businesses should invest in developing green skills in their workforce and across their supply chains and,
- Set externally verified net zero targets across scopes one, two and three in collaboration with suppliers.
“This research shows that people understand that there is a direct link between climate change and the rising cost of living and that if we are to avoid rising food, fuel and energy bills in the future, we must take action on climate change today. The calls to action we are asking businesses and policymakers to take will put us on track to reach our net zero goals as close to 2030 as possible, build resilience to climate risks and reduce inequalities across the UK. Acting on climate change is not just about preserving our planet for future generations. It is also about building the infrastructure, skills and support systems to bring the cost of bills down and support people who are struggling to make ends meet today.”
Jamie Jenkins, Director of Policy & Communications at Royal London, said:
“These are very challenging times for people as we face into the cost-of-living crisis. It’s crucial that we consider how we transition to a more sustainable society in a way that is fair for everyone, and we are keen to support research that furthers this aim.”
Notes to editors
- All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,019 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th – 7th October 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
- Full regional breakdowns for each question are available upon request.
- Read Business in the Community’s Route to a Net Zero, Climate Resilient future here.
For further information, please contact Aoife Butler Nolan, Head of Media, Public Affairs and Policy, on 07702 903 216.
About Business in the Community
Business in the Community (BITC) and our network of business members are leading a movement to create a fair and sustainable world in which to live in work. Formed in 1982, and with His Majesty King Charles III as our Royal Founding Patron, we are the largest and longest-established membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. We work and campaign with more than 600 members to continually grow their responsible business practices, uniting our efforts for greater social and environmental impact in our communities.
About Royal London
Royal London is the largest mutual life insurance, pensions and investment company in the UK, with assets under management of £150 billion, 8.8 million policies in force and 4,262 employees. Figures quoted are as of 30 June 2022.