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The power of sustainable living

Pru’s recent ‘Power of Sustainable Living’ report has uncovered useful consumer behaviour information for advisers. The study seeks to understand whether, and if so how, consumers’ attitudes and behaviours may be changing for good as a result of the dramatic global changes taking place. Its findings act as a powerful reminder why advisers’ can no longer ignore the fact that their client proposition must be tailored to today’s clients’ changing values and needs. 

The idea of living consciously is gathering strong momentum here in the UK and globally. November’s United Nations’ COP26 climate summit reminded us all of the huge environmental disasters which our planet faces from rising CO2 emissions unless decisive action is taken urgently by governments, corporations big and small and individual citizens across the globe too. We must all play our part if we are to avoid the very worst impacts for people and the planet.

Such changes to consumer behaviours have implications for the way in which financial advice is delivered too. The new ‘Power of Sustainable Living’ research carried out by Pru* involved 2000 people in the UK. It explores how people’s attitudes have changed and the power which everyday actions and decisions can have, especially when it comes to their finances and investing.

What is conscious living?

Conscious living, often referred to in the UK as sustainable living, is about the small daily decisions we can make that, collectively, make a big difference for us and the planet.

Three-in-five people surveyed (61%) spend money on goods or services that they know are ethical or sustainable. This is made up of 11% who do it often, 30% sometimes and 20% who say they do, but not very often.

Younger respondents (those aged 18-24) are more likely (77%), above all other age groups, to spend money on goods or services that they know are ethical or sustainable.

The impact of Covid-19

For over a third (36%) of those surveyed, Covid-19 has changed how they feel about the impact made on the environment. Slightly more women than men who responded feel Covid-19 has had an impact (38% vs 33%), and this also increases with income, with 60% of those earning between £60,000 and £100,000 having changed their outlook, compared to just 29% of those earning less than £20,000.

Investors are increasingly driven by environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations too.  Amongst those respondents who have investments, only 30% say they invest in ESG criteria. However, 60% say they do not know where their money is invested.

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