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Company news, Digital Impact and Sustainability Jun 10, 2021

New BT research reveals almost half of people don't feel they have the ability to tackle climate change

  • New research from BT reveals that climate change is the third most important issue for people after mental and physical health
  • Despite this, almost half of those surveyed believed that they were incapable of tackling climate change
  • As a result, one fifth confessed to not having engaged with the issue of climate change at all

London, 10 June 2021 – A new study from BT and creative business and youth specialists Livity, has found that despite listing climate change as a key societal problem, many people don’t know how to actively make a difference.

In a poll of over 2,000 adults, 20% admitted to not engaging with the climate change agenda, despite 32% stating that they worry more about the state of the environment than they do about violent crime.

Almost one-fifth of those surveyed stated that feeling ‘alone’ in making a difference was one of the main reasons they had not attempted to tackle the issue of climate change. Others noted the lack of a collective movement to help them drive the cause.

As a result, one in four adults want better support from existing authorities to help guide their engagement with the climate change movement. More than a third also want businesses and manufacturers to make their sustainable products more affordable to help encourage greater adoption.

Ways in which some individuals are already attempting to make a change, include reducing waste (54%), shopping more locally (33%), and raising awareness of the issues around climate change (14%).

Gabrielle Ginér, Head of Environmental Sustainability at BT said: “Climate change is an issue that we all face and at BT we want more people to feel united in action. Where we live, our ethnicity and our socio-economic status all play a key role in defining our connection with climate change. No one person or organisation can tackle climate change alone which is why we want people to feel inspired to make a contribution of their own, however large or small. It’s the combination of everybody pulling together that will make the difference.”

Alan Bryant, Strategy Partner at Livity said: “For those who feel they can have an impact, climate change is seen as something that everyone can play their part in. They believe in the cumulative impact of every individual’s actions.

“However, for those who don’t believe they can drive change, the opposite is true - they feel instead that the climate emergency is a bigger issue than the individual, a bigger issue than they can solve alone. Many believe it should be the responsibility of government and industry to enact change, but the truth lies, as ever, somewhere in the middle – with individuals and large groups both working together.”

With a customer base of 30 million households, BT is well placed to help households cut their carbon footprint, and has recently partnered with environmental charity Hubbub to carry out a three-month ‘Smarter Living Challenge’ looking at the ways technology can help cut household emissions.

The company believes that its technology and networks will underpin many of the innovative solutions needed to achieve a net zero carbon economy - supporting everything from home-working through to the development of smart cities and enabling the Internet of things.

As part of plans to become a net zero carbon emissions business by 2045, BT is using 100% renewable electricity worldwide. Consumers who buy mobile or broadband from EE, BT or Plusnet are already supplied by networks that are powered by 100% clean power. The company has also outlined plans to electrify up to 28,000 of its 33,000 vehicles by 2030.

In the run up to climate talks later this year, BT is calling on other companies to get involved by setting their own ambitious net zero targets and by engaging with their customers, colleagues and suppliers about climate change and the difference they can make.