A World of Worry: Exploring consumer eco-anxiety and environmental behaviours

Why eco-anxiety consumer sustainability research?

As awareness of the severity of the environmental crisis grows, more and more people are reporting feelings of anxiety around our planet’s future – particularly as extreme climate events, such as Australian wildfires, become increasingly common.

With eco-anxiety unlikely to go away, organisations of all kinds should pay attention to this phenomenon, particularly in terms of how it intersects with consumer behaviour.

Eco-worriers to eco-warriors

To bring insight to eco-anxiety consumer sustainability research, we surveyed 1,002 UK consumers on their attitudes, behaviours and beliefs about the environment, including how worried they were about the planet’s future. We found:

  • 68% said that thinking about the environment’s future makes them nervous, while 56% felt helpless at the thought.
  • Half of the sample were categorised as Frequent Worriers, including 18% who worried about the environment daily.
  • Eco-anxiety appears to lead to sustainable behaviours, as seen in 64% of Frequent Worriers trying to buy less, compared to 43% of Semi-frequent and 34% of Infrequent Worriers.

Interested in your own research?

Our team of friendly and flexible researchers conducts interviews, focus groups and surveys on a range of sensitive subjects relating to attitudes and behaviours.