Britons are keen to be green

Article date: 21 March 2011

Britons are doing their bit to try to prevent climate change but they need help and support, according to new research.*

A survey by the UK's largest insurer Aviva - a sponsor of national Climate Week (March 21-27) - found 85% of those questioned are already taking positive action when it comes to tackling climate change, with 54% believing it is down to each individual to take responsibility to try to prevent it. Almost seven in 10 people said they were concerned about the future effects of climate change.

However, there was a strong call for more help and support to enable people to make an even bigger impact, with almost half (46%) believing the introduction of a business code  would help make a difference and 42% wanting local councils to provide more facilities to help make 'being green' easier.

Recycling tops the list of things that the UK public does at home in a bid to prevent climate change, with nine out of 10 people saying they recycle on a regular basis. Their other energy-saving actions include:

  • turning out the lights when they leave the room (87%)
  • using low energy bulbs (84%)
  • not leaving appliances on standby (66%)
  • walking for journeys of less than a mile (52%)
  • using appliances sparingly (47%)
  • buying eco-efficient houses or white goods (41%)

The research also showed that women are more avid energy savers (86% of women use low energy bulbs compared to 81% of men; 70% of women don’t leave appliances on standby compared to 61% of men) whilst men are more inclined to leave the car at home and walk (56% men v 49% women).

Tom Oxley, Aviva’s corporate responsibility manager commented: “As sponsors of national Climate Week we wanted to raise the awareness of climate change and highlight how important it is to people in the UK.

“It’s obvious they are not only aware of the causes and effects of climate change but are taking individual responsibility and making sure they are doing their bit. Taking simple steps such as using low energy bulbs or not leaving appliances on standby can not only help save the planet but can also save people money.

"For instance, a simple home energy check-up shows families can save £250** a year by being energy efficient."

Whilst individuals are keen to do their bit when it comes to being green at home, it is a different picture in the workplace. The survey showed that less than one in five (18%) had a climate change policy at their place of work, although they are very keen that the same practices they carry out at home in regard to recycling and energy saving are implemented by their companies.

Among the most important things people said should be instigated at work were:

  • recycling (63%)
  • turning off idle printers (60%)
  • using low energy bulbs (59%)
  • turning off lights (48%)
  • using solar powered heating (40%)
  • turning down the heating (33%)

Oxley added: "There are a lot of pressures on businesses in difficult economic times but there are some simple steps they can take to help improve their energy efficiency, which can also help their bottom line.

"At our websites www.aviva.co.uk/climate-week and www.aviva.com/cr, there are a number of useful tips and initiatives that both businesses and individuals can use to build on the good work that is already being done."

At Aviva, we have been carbon neutral since 2006 and have reduced carbon emissions in the UK by 23% since then. The insurer introduced an energy reduction strategy in the UK which saved nearly £900,000 last year and also saw a 13% reduction on its energy-based CO2 emissions.

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Notes to editors:

* In total, 1,026 people were surveyed by ICM Omnibus. The survey was conducted online between 23-25 February 2011.

** £250 saving as based on the home energy check-up provided through the Energy Savings Trust.

Aviva is one of the world's largest insurance groups* with 53 million customers worldwide and 46,000 employees.

Aviva’s main activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £45.1 billion and funds under management of £379 billion*.

In the UK, Aviva takes care of its 19.2 million customers by helping them look after their future, protecting what’s important – from their health to their homes, their cars to their business – and saving for the future.

Aviva has a 10.5%** share of the UK life and pensions market and insures one in six homes and one in ten cars in the UK. It is also one of the oldest UK insurers, with a heritage stretching back more than 300 years.

RAC, which is owned by Aviva, provides breakdown and insurance services for individuals and businesses and has around seven million customers.

Aviva is carbon neutral worldwide, and is ranked in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In the UK, Aviva invested £3.8 million into local communities in 2009. Read our corporate responsibility report at www.aviva.com/cr

Aviva’s global Street to School programme is working in partnership with Railway Children in the UK to get children living on the streets back into education and everyday life. Find out more at www.aviva.co.uk/street-to-school.

The Aviva media centre at www.aviva.com/media includes images, company and product information and a news release archive.

For broadcast-standard video, please visit www.aviva.com/media/video

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*based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2009

**Source: ABI data released August 2010

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